New Bar Manager Wanted at the American Bar, Savoy Hotel
Well, this opportunity doesn’t come around very often, and I would imagine that the person who gets this exclusive role would be in for a number of industry changing decades. This position includes managing 22 staff, Erik Lorincz (Head bartender and winner of World Class 2010), and a world known bar that’s heritage alone is something to respect. I have never been to the hotel, or even seen the bar (accept in photos) but I do know that this land mark in London has led the cocktail industry for decades, and any mixologist on the planet would tell you this.
Recently I organized for some of my customers in Durban to visit the hotel bar with Tim Judge (Africa Reserve Brand Ambassador) and from what I hear it was an overwhelming experience. Just the impact and presence alone is enough to send you home with passion and inspiration to jet set you along your journey as a professional bartender. I am extremely jealous!
Good luck to whoever is successful in being awarded this title, I do hope that one day I can meet you!
The Diageo Reserve World Class competition seems to be changing the world of bartending as we know it. For me, it has been truly inspiring to watch as global mixologists adapt to this new era of application and technique. Gone are the days of adding a couple ingredients to a shaker with ice and serve chilled in a glass. Now it’s all about theatre and presentation, and how well you adapt this to your knowledge of the base spirit. I am in a position where it is my responsibility to teach these modern day changes, but I find myself learning more and more every day.
The great thing about theatre with recipe creation is that it opens doors for fantastic themes during competitions and demonstrations. If we look at the competitions taking place around the world; Bacardi Legacy, Diageo Reserve World Class, G’Vine Gin Connoisseur, The Bombay Sapphire Comp, Angostura Bitters Comp, etc. they are all coming up with seriously challenging criteria which puts the bartender’s skills to the absolute max. I am managing the World Class program in KZN, South Africa and the challenges are immense. This month the contestants had to create a recipe that showed there culinary skills and techniques or how well they could pair a Johnnie Walker variant with a food dish. When one looks at all the techniques used in a molecular kitchen, your options become exciting and extremely entertaining to watch. Dry ice and liquid nitrogen are becoming as common in a bar as lemon juice used to be!
I personally think it is fantastic and very rewarding, especially because it is bringing back the passion to the industry. These individuals are no longer considering bartending as a part time filler to get them to the next level, but rather as a destination profession that they take very seriously.
The video attached is something I really enjoyed, and as you will see the bar has been raised!
Well today is the day that we announce the winner of the Don Julio leg of the WORLD CLASS competition. What an outstanding month of skill, enthusiasm, innovation and originality, a massive well done to our top 5 for putting up a very difficult judging session yesterday!
As you know all contestants had to participate in a Tequila category training in which they were introduced to the brand, DON JULIO REPOSADO TEQUILA. The training was finished off with an advanced mixology module in which the trainee’s were shown what was expected of them for the WORLD CLASS competition. Each contestant had to submit a “Signature Serve” recipe containing Don Julio Tequila. This challenge allowed our local mixologists to go completely out of the box. As you can see from the photos attached we had espresso, we had syringes, we had Himalayan Salt crusts, we had elderflower sorbets and we also had sangrita!
But as we all know, we can only have one winner. And as you can see from the points below, winning by 0.3% from the Oyster Box Hotel…
- In 1st place we have Kwanele Sydney Mkhize making a “Gonzalez Café” winning himself R1000 cash, a spot in the regional finals and an addition R10,000 event budget for his venue.
- In 2nd Place we have Mathew James Low from Harveys Restaurant making a “Mayahuels Jestor” winning himself R700.
- In 3rd Place we have Mo Therese from Unity bar making a “Classico” winning himself R300.
- In 4th Place we have Andy Ngbobo from 9th Avenue Bistro making a “DJ Mango Margarita”.
- In 5th place we have Warwick Flanagan from Harveys Restaurant making a “Don Julio Flower”.
MONDAY, JANUARY 28TH, 2013: Today, WORLD CLASS, the world’s largest and most credible mixology competition, announced the 2013 Global Final will take place aboard boutique Azamara Club Cruise’s ship, Azamara Journey, from 4th – 9th July 2013. Each adding their own unique splash of creativity, dash of showmanship and twist of technique, only the 50 best bartenders will be selected to compete at the Global Final for the coveted title of Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year.
Setting sail along the French Riviera in Nice and Monte Carlo, the voyage will include stopovers in some of the Mediterranean’s most iconic and chic destinations including St. Tropez and Ibiza, before culminating in the Catalan capital of Barcelona.
Garnish: Orange Zest
Pair: White Lindt chocolate balls
- 50ml Don Julio Reposado
- 25ml Agave Necter
- 30ml Espresso
- Dash of Fee brothers orange bitters
Method: Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with an orange zest. Pair on a white dish with white chocolate.
This is WORLD CLASS launch video from the Johannesburg region of South Africa. The event took place at the Rand Club in town. The Bar has definitely been raised!
Check out this awesome clip of the WORLD CLASS launch which took place in Cape Town earlier this month. The event took place at a venue called “The Reserve” which is located in the heart of Cape Town. Looks like the heat has been turned up, Durban VS Cape Town VS Johannesburg!
Watch this Space!
Check out this video of the WORLD CLASS launch event in KZN that took place on Wednesday the 3rd of October at “The Upstairs” venue above Spiga Doro in Morningside. A special thanks to Olivers Twist Productions for making this clip, Fantastic Work!
The first month’s challenge for WORLD CLASS was to create a CIROC® Vodka bottle serve for a celebrity of your choice. Each bartender had to supply reason, originality and class to be selected for the top 5. This was announced on Monday. We then went into the trade to have these bartenders make their recipes for a panel of Judges in their own bars. It was a really exciting exercise and the judges were blown away.
The top 5 contestants/outlets were;
- Bel Punto – Claudia Lovisa making the “Go Ghetta” for celebrity DJ David Ghetta
- Havana Grill – Stephen Ndlovu making the “CIROC Berry Bubbly” topless for the local celebrity Khanyi Mbawu!!
- Havana Grill – Nkayiso Masango making the “Green Summer” for the actor/singer/shareholder MR. Sean Combs
- Harveys Restaurant – Stephen Saunders making a deconstructed version of a bloody mary called “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” for celebrity chef Reuben Riffel
- Fairmont Zimbali Resort – Patrick Mavumbia making a “Nigiri CIROC” for actor/singer/shareholder MR. Sean Combs
The panel of judges consisted of;
- Ryan Duvenage – Barcode Mobile
- Joe De Wet – Livingstons Gastro Pub
- Severin Bang – Barcode Mobile
- Mark Beegt – Liquid Concepts
- Alex Farnell - Brandhouse
In total we received 23 bottle serve recipes from 7 of the 8 outlets. For the first month of the competition this was fantastic. But like in any competition there has to be one winner! None the less, second and third place will also walk away with monetary prizes. This is why we call it WORLD CLASS!
The Contestants were judged in the following areas;
- Expression of the spirit
- Theatrical Performance
- Brand Knowledge
- Interactivity with the consumer
- Overall etiquette and confidence
The winner of WORLD CLASS CIROC® Vodka Month is….
Making a celebrity bottle serve called, “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” for Rueben Riffel…winning himself R1000 cash and a R10,000 WORLD CLASS event budget for his outlet…
Well done to Stephen Saunders from Harvey’s Restaurant in Morningside. A truly amazing bottle serve that really showed you knew what the judges were looking for. The CIROC® vodka came through fantastically and all the elements that you provided were undoubtedly style and professional.
In second place and winning herself R700 cash, goes to Claudia Lovisa from Bel Punto. Her celebrity serve was aimed at international DJ David Ghetta where she really brought the music world to life. Well done.
And in third place, winning himself R300 cash, we have Patrick Mavumbi from the Fairmont Zimbali Resort, making a Celebrity bottle serve for P.Diddy (Sean Combs) whilst combining his theatre with a magic show and a food pairing of Sushi. Well done.
So now we go into month 2 of the competition which is focused all around the Gin category and more specifically the brand TANQUERAY® NO.TEN™. Everyone will go through a training session and learn some new ways to present recipes originating from the 50’s. This month’s theme is called “Retro Chic”. Please see in your trade presenters for more info.
May I also ask those who have not “Liked” the WORLD CLASS SOUTH AFRICA facebook page to please do so. This will keep you updated throughout the competition.
Brent Perremore from South Africa makes two fantastic recipes during the 2012 World Class competition currently taking place in Rio. The One drink is made in a real ostrich egg garnished with a porcupine quill while the other contains 2 grams of natural squid ink. Fantastic to watch!
Ron Zacapa is one of my favourite brands in the rum category. Not only because of its great flavour and unique mix-ability characteristics, but also because of its fascinating heritage and lengthy production process. But first, let us take a step back and look at the actual “Rum” category and then finish with the Zacapa legend.
After the invention of the distillation process in the 8th century, the rum category was initially harvested and produced in India until the Arabs took the process to Spain. It was then during Spanish colonization that the process of making rum arrived in America. The original process of making rum was crude and very inconsistent, which often lead to the category only being consumed by the lower class. The sugar cane needed to make rum grows extremely well in tropical climates, which was another reason for the category doing extremely well in the Caribbean.
History of Ron Zacapa Centenario
The Ingenio Tululá sugar processing plant was founded in 1904 at Retalhuleu on the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. Since this time it has produced raw, direct white sugar and ultimately molasses.
At the beginning of the 20th century the Botran and Requejo families were living in the Burgos province. The children of the two families married and produced five sons, and moved to Quetzaltenango where they subsequently founded Industria Licorera Quezalteca in 1950.
Also in the early 20th century, several other Guatemalan families founded their own companies and independent distilleries in different regions of the country: Industria Licorera Guatemalteca (1937), Industria Licorera Euzkadi (1930), Licorera Zacapaneca “Zacapa Distillery” (1940).
Licorera Zacapaneca was based in the province of Zacapa and was founded by three Guatemalan families named Girón, Estrada and Gordillo. Upon opening their Licorera they hired as the Master Blender a Spanish rum expert, Dr. Alejandro Burgaleta, who developed a very special rum to be made with virgin sugar cane honey, Ron Zacapa.
In 1960 Distribuidora de Licores La Nacional was created to unify the marketing, distribution, and sales of ILG, as a result of which there were dramatic improvements in both plant technology and a huge step up in the quality of the rums being produced.
The most important technological changes included the introduction of more productive cane varieties that matured earlier; new methods of cultivation, fertilization, and pest control; a new type of machete; technical organization of labor; mechanization of loading; the introduction of new centrifuges; and other procedures to improve productivity in extracting sucrose in the factory.
In some mills, cane-cutting machines were introduced, but in general mechanization has not taken over given its high cost, the special conditions necessary for the equipment to function, and the abundance of cheap labour.
At the same time, administrative modernization was also introduced, based on management methods inspired by a vision of quality control, computerized information, and annual evaluations of the harvest in the company and industry. Guatemala is now the 5th largest exporter of sugar in the world and the 2nd most efficient producer.
As the world price of sugar rose in the 1960’s, Guatemala’s sugar factories were upgraded and new state of the art factories and distilleries were built by the company. The current maturation facility at Quetzaltenango opened its doors in 1968 and was built on land 1.5 miles (2330m) above sea level, the highest such facility in the world.
Zacapa Centenario rum is painstakingly crafted through a sublime harmony of place and time. It is the specific combination of soil, climate, and altitude that make up the terroir of Guatemala, together with the unusual degree of control, that enables the devotion and passion of Lorena Vásquez, the Master Blender, to create what is widely acknowledged to be the world’s best tasting rum.
The production process is a wholly owned, vertically integrated process with exemplary quality control at all levels. The story begins with sugar cane grown in the company’s own plantations. The soil here is a fertile clay-rich volcanic type only found in Guatemala, which gives a specific flavour to the rum. The cane juice is pressed, filtered, and heated to removes water and impurities, but retain the sugar, leaving a virgin cane honey with a delectable sweet taste and the same balance of sugars as the original cane.
For fermentation a specific single strain of yeast is used which has been chosen for its compatibility with the virgin honey. It allows for a long slow fermentation of around 120 hours during which the wealth of flavouring components which characterize the rum are created. The fermented mash is distilled in a copper-lined one-column still to an alcoholic strength of between 88 and 92% ABV. The use of the column still gives the Master Blender exemplary control over the distillation process and enables the retention of the flavouring congeners.
After distillation, Zacapa goes on an amazing journey from the Guatemalan lowlands to the highest ageing facility in the world at 2300m above sea level. The rarefied atmosphere at the ‘House Above the Clouds’ provides the perfect cool climate for the slow aging of rum. Using a dynamic Solera System, barrels of rum of the same type but different age are stacked on top of each other, the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top, which creates a system for combining blending and ageing. Different types of barrel that once held robust bourbons, delicate Sherries, and lush pedro Ximenez wines are used at different points in the solera. Each one imparts a specific character to the rum.
The blending of the rums is an art that is only possible to master after many years of experience. The purpose of blending is to allow for the strengths of the rums to stand out while making their character consistent and harmonious over time. Lorena Vásquez, the Master Blender, believes very firmly that each barrel is a living, breathing entity and should not simply be forgotten to gather dust in the warehouse. This is why she devotes her heart and soul to nurturing them, almost as if they were children.
Guatemala was the cradle of the great Mayan civilization that dominated Central America for centuries and Mayan traditions still run deep. Zacapa is proud to represent one of them on its bottle: the band of petate. Petate is an artisanal matting hand-woven from the dried leaves of the palm. In the Mayan worldview it symbolizes the unity of everything. Just as the leaves of the palm are interwoven so are the earth and the sky, the sun and moon, and the physical and spiritual realms. This is why a woven petate band is placed around every bottle of Zacapa Centenario rum. It is a manifestation of the creativity and heritage behind the spirit, a liquid that is intimately bound up with the place and time from which it comes.
Zacapa 15 is a blend of rums aged between 5 and 15 years in the Solera System. It is soft and generous with notes of creamy vanilla, light orange, and elegant dried tropical fruits.
Zacapa 23 is a blend of rums aged between 6 and 23 years in the Solera System. It is wonderfully intricate with honeyed butterscotch, spiced oak and raisin fruit, showcasing the complexity of the solera ageing process.
Zacapa XO is a blend of rums aged between 6 and 25 years in the Solera System. It is perfectly balanced combination of sweetness, spice, fruit and spirit, a connoisseur’s delight and the ultimate expression of the Master blender’s art.
The Mystery Martini
Here’s a delicious recipe for you. No classic rules or heritage in this one, just one hell of a yummy flavour! Obviously balance is essential, and the combination of flavours is a selling point, but trust me on this one. Go get these ingredients and whip this up in your kitchen, you will not be sorry!
Garnish: Small sprig of rosemary punched into a thinly sliced lemon zest
- 50ml of Tanqueray No.Ten Gin
- 25ml Giffard Watermelon Liqueur
- 25ml Monin Amaretto Syrup
- 25ml Lemon Juice
- 2 Small Rosemary Sprigs
Method: Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, shake vigorously. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass.
South African Bartending Champs 2012 - KZN Results
Yesterday (28th June 2012) was the Durban leg for the 2012 South African bartending championships. Hosted by Cubana on Florida Road in Morningside, the competition consisted of a two categories; Classic mixology and Flair.
For the mixology round each bartender had to make 3 different recipes and 2 of each in under 10 minutes. The recipes had to contain Mainstay Cane and at least one of the liqueurs/syrups from the Kreate Brands portfolio. There were 5 mixologists going up against each other;
- Ryan Duvenage - Barcode
- Alex Farnell - Brandhouse
- Mark Beegte - Liquid Concepts
- CJ Cornel Alberts - Frankie Banana’s
- Kyle O’Reily - Kreate Brands
The level was set high, and these mixologists really got a chance to demonstrate their skills. In the end only 3 would win their flight to Cape Town for the National finals taking place on the 11th of July at Cubana Stellenbosh. In first place was Ryan, Second was myself and in 3rd was Kyle.
For the Flair round we a great turnout of bartenders. 9 contestants from all around KZN. Each bartender had 6 minutes to make 3 identical recipes each containing Mainstay Cane and Finest Call. Each bartender also had to perform a “Stall” involving the Finest Call bottle.
In first place was Pieter Oosthuizen, Second place was myself, and in third place was Jean-Marc Bouic. These bartenders have also all won a spot in the Final taking place in Cape Town on the 11th.
Well done guys, it is really inspiring to see all the new talent in KZN. Keep up the good work!
Last night was the South African National final of the World Class Bartending competition which took place at 15 on Orange hotel in Cape Town. Congratulations to Brent Perremore from Asoka Bar in Cape Town for taking 1st Place and winning himself an all expenses paid trip to the International finals taking place in Rio in two weeks time.