The mixture makes the strength
Welcome again to Spirit Essence, the most innovative, and most demanding cocktail competition. In addition to being the national bartender olympiads, this is the occasion to celebrate and enjoy the art of cocktails. An exciting meeting that culminates this September with the first prize for the most skilful and daring barman; who takes 15,000 euros – plus another 15,000 that have already been distributed in the previous phases-. A good recognition that, as we will see below, you have to be able to win.
Final line: excitement and good vibes …
We meet at the Gatsby in Barcelona, a scene worthy of a gangsters movie, the place that gave us the ideal setting to live such a special and exciting competition. The decoration, the uniforms of the waiters, their beards and hairstyles arranged in the “vintage” way, placed us in a location where, if it wasn´t for the numerous i-phones shooting photos, you would swear is a Chicago bar in the ’50s, very elegant.
A whole environment generated also by our DJ, called especially for his fine musical criteria. Known by everyone in this world, our dearest Carlos Lopez, was there taking care of -in addition to music- an infinity of things. He played Deejay, he was in charge of assisting the mixologists, setting the clock and being in a thousand details, a great professional who dazzled with his work and an excellent musical selection.
Other protagonists who joined
A group of photographers, the presence of the Café fred boys and the delicious cookies by Crown’s Bakery accompanied the whole championship, as well as the people of Cocktail TV, covering interviews with personalities and every detail of the event.
To compete and to share
Fellowship and camaraderie as they have never been seen. There was a participant there who was not willing to miss it for nothing, since he had shown up with a bandaged leg and two sticks. And there he was, fully enjoying his mates, to applause.
Big words. It has been an enormous pleasure for me and a privilege to share a table with these eminences, each one in his area, and we are talking about an international level.
Sharing panel with:
Javier Caballero, Mixologe
Alberto Pizarro, Cocktails
Diego Cabrera, Cocktails
Steve Olson, Mezcal, from New York
Rafa Bellido, Sommelier
Ximena, Whiskys Sud-Europa ambassador
And me, as cocktails judge, also invited to the table for being an expert barista.
Then silence, suspense and maximum expectation, the time stopped, the minutes seemed eternal while the tasting and the scoring took place.
Nerves in the final presentation
The big surprise: the SEVENTH TEST, consisted in the elaboration of a cocktails menu, deliver the letter, make those cocktails -with only 3 minutes for the mise en place-, then serve a wine to a table with a couple of actors, all in 15 minutes
Moreover, a barista exercise: to support the participants in this task, our NEIVA was there, (machine provided by Degustoarte.com): the vintage machine that beat great aesthetics with the Gastby look. And the collaboration of Manuel de Almería as passionate barista and lover of cocktails with coffee. They had to make two perfect espressos and two perfect cappuccinos. The cleanliness, the order, the correct extraction of the espresso and the latte art. Easy, huh?
NEIVA, a sensation in the event …
It was extremely difficult to score and decide, the level was very high. The guys surprised us with cocktails and really original and delicious combinations; and they also delighted us with their knowledge and ease. Finally, after all the suspense and nerves, the Balearic team was victorious, composed by Borja Triñanes, Bertin Slavov, Toni Galmés, Matías Iriarte and Charles Harrington-Clarke. My congratulations to these guys who deserve and have won every last cent of the prize. Congratulations again!
In a country where there is a lot of drinking culture, but more cocktail culture is lacking, these boys, enthusiastic about their work, taught us with their knowledge and their art the story and love that lies behind each bottle. They are true ambassadors of quality cocktails, and from here to the world!
They have a common goal, to transmit their passion and educate the consumer, to transform their drink into an augmented and conscious experience. As we always say, training is fundamental. The Barman of the 21st century must be an ambassador and also a teacher. Demonstrate their gifts and at the same time educate the consumers. Just like the barista and his work as a diffuser of the coffee culture.
Lots of emotions by the end of the competition
Thanks to all…