Judges tweet frantically as Robb Collins prepares to show his stuff
Robb's ingredients don't seem too weird, but wait
till you see the presentation
It has become a recognised part of an ambitious young bartender’s career ladder: at the Candlelight Club our resident mixologist David Hamilton Boyd has at least three of these gongs, the Jameson Mix Master world final, Vestal Vodka UK cocktail competition winner and Hendrick's Gin UK cocktail competition winner.
|All contestants were being filmed as they performed|
only that but they had to talk us through their concept as they were doing so, filling us in on how they arrived at the recipe and how it fulfilled the brief of (a) being something you could call a “Martini” (without actually being a Martini, because that has already been taken, so no scope for points there), (b) appealing to the female palate, (c) expressing the origins (and doubtless “values”) of the brand and (d) perhaps relating to the name “Snow Queen”—cue some textual analyses of Hans Christian Anderson’s original gruesome fairy tale and at least one
Robb's presentation involved Kazakh glassware, lilies, ice
cubes with lilies frozen inside them, some fake snow and
a teapot spewing dry ice everywhere. See? Anyone can
make cocktails at home
As you might expect, there were some pretty leftfield ingredients—citric acid, aloe vera leaves, pickled cauliflower, oyster tincture, “atomised sea buckthorn”—and some predictable ones: tea is still clearly on trend, as is the inclusion of unexpectedly savoury herbs, such as tarragon. (And citric acid, come to think of it.) In fairness, a couple of contestants explained that the tea was a reference to the beverage’s popularity in Kazakhstan, and their presentations included traditional tea sets and glasses.
Sadly it wasn’t part of my role actually to taste the cocktails (though we were served Clubland Cocktails, an old recipe—it’s in the Café Royal Cocktail Book from 1937—combining vodka and white port to very agreeable
Elliott Ball's ingredients are explained as both an
expression of the nature of femininity and as
representing plot points in The Snow Queen. Wow.
He even served it on a mirror that he cracked before us.
I foresee Heath & Safety issues.
Incidentally, if you want a vodka cocktail that still allows the specific character of the vodka to come through, try a vodka Gimlet (about 2 ½ shots vodka to ¾ shot Rose’s lime cordial).
More tea pots, this time from Matteo Corsalini of China Tang at the Dorchester. His Her Majesty
cocktail is served with passion fruit caviar and more fake snow. Jasmine smoke comes into it
somehow as well.
The four finalists, Robb, Fabio, Matteo and Sam Baxendale of Monteiths in Edinburgh, go
through a Mystery Box round, where they must come up with a cocktail using only the
mystery ingredients presented to them.
Eventual winner Robb Collins, from Meat Liquor in London, with Gulnida Toichieva, founder
of Snow Queen (left) and Daisy Jones from The Spirits Business.