Taking place during the Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, this year represents the 10th anniversary of the cocktail challenge, which has seen 318 entrants competing from 55 countries before being whittled down to the top nine.
After impressing judges in the regional heats, the nine finalists of the Angostura Global Cocktail Competition are: Shana Rajahram (Trinidad & Tobago), Marv Cunningham (The Bahamas), Chad Lawrence (Canada), Gustavo Costa (Brazil), Mike Jordhoy (France), Rohan Massie (Australia), Simon Dacey (United Kingdom), Vasile Dorofeev (Dubai) and Agung Satria (Vietnam).
The winning bartender will receive the title of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Champion (AGCC), a cash prize of US$10,000 and a two-year contract as the Angostura Global Brand Ambassador, as well as the opportunity to revisit Angostura’s home in Trinidad & Tobago serve as a judge in the next AGCC Global finals.
The global finals will see each bartender mix two drinks in seven minutes while entertaining judges with their knowledge about cocktails, the category and Angostura. They will also need to complete a rigorous interview.
“I’m so excited to head to Trinidad next month for a number of reasons but to name a couple it would have to be to meet the House of Angostura family,” said Massie, who is venue manager at Rude Boy in Hobart.
“Everyone from the distillers, blenders and people from around the world who will be representing the House of Angostura and helping to push it forward. I’m also excited to get a bit nerdy with distillery tours and the legends at ground zero.
“Emotions leading up to now have been riding high with a lot of excitement, nerves and determination to do well. Preparation for me has involved a lot of cocktail creations trying to explore the flavours of Angostura so I understand them better.
“I have started shooting for a YouTube channel to get used to presentation style and get more comfortable on a stage. At the core of preparations though is breaking down and re-assembling and rehearsing my presentation so I’m as comfortable with what I’m saying as possible.”
Rahim Mohammed, Angostura’s Executive Manager – Corporate Services & Marketing, said: “We have finalists with just a couple of years’ experience to those with over 10+ years, those that have enjoyed formal cocktail training to those that have been self taught, via books and YouTube videos, from award-winning bartenders to those competing in a major competition for the very first time.
“The one thing all of these finalists have in common is a real and urgent passion for their craft, for many it is a calling, an incredible talent for mixing drinks and a great way of telling stories and engaging an audience. I can’t wait to see all nine of these finalists in action here in Trinidad & Tobago and for them to experience one of the most incredible weeks on our beautiful islands.”
Ahead of the competition, there will be lots of opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Angostura through distillery and museum tours and tutored tastings as well as to experience the island’s rich culture.
After the competition is over, win, lose or draw, all finalists get the opportunity to enjoy a full Carnival experience – starting with J’ouvert, otherwise known as dirty ‘mas. This represents the official start of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival and is a pre-dawn celebration which involves revellers smearing paint, mud or oil on each other while dancing down the street in a j’ouvert band.