Jamaican rum brand Appleton Estate has named Blaise Bachelier as the winner of its UK cocktail competition, Journey to Joy.
The Journey to Joy mixology competition took place earlier this month at the new ‘state-of-the-art’ Campari Academy in London, based at Appleton Estate owner Campari Group’s new headquarters.
Bachelier has been awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to Jamaica, and an exclusive meet and greet with Appleton Estate master blender Joy Spence.
Bachelier, bartender at Fox and Chance in Birmingham, said: “The feedback from the judges was so valuable, I have learnt so much through the competition and improved every step of the way which is what I came to do.
“My victory hasn’t sunk in yet, I’m very excited to go to Jamaica and learn from Joy – she’s such a pioneer in the space. And to sample all the great rum.”
The competition has been running for five months, seeing competitors compete in regional heats with a focus on championing Appleton Estate’s 8 Year Old Reserve Rum and the Mai Tai serve.
The Mai Tai was originally made with a 17-year-old Appleton Estate rum when it was invented in 1944, the brand said.
Other finalists included Edinburgh-based Commons Club bartender Kristaps Baranovs, Scarfes Bar’s Andrea Carella, and The Alchemist’s Isaac Alberto.
The judging panel comprised global rum ambassador Ian Burrell; Campari Group UK’s rum and whiskies ambassador Chris Dennis; Appleton Estate brand manager, Lily-Rose Dyer; and Hamish Smith, editor of Class magazine.
Dennis said: “It’s been a pleasure to taste and experience what the bartenders have created throughout this competition. The standard has been amazing, and rum’s trajectory has never been more exciting. I look forward to following the career of every competitor in the future.”
Earlier this year, the brand released a limited edition rum to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Spence.
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Author: Alice Brooker