Venezuelan rum brand Diplomático has crowned Josh Linfitt of Ugly Butterfly as its 2022 Mixed Consciously UK champion.
The final was held at Crouch in Stirchley, England, last week, and saw nine hopefuls from across the UK present their cocktail entries to a panel of experts.
Judges included Tatiana Velez, a climate change and sustainable development expert and specialist in international tourism and hospitality management; Katie Rouse, owner of Crouch and winner of the 2021 competition; and Thanos Prunarus from Baba au Rum in Athens.
Linfitt won the competition with his cocktail Deep Admiration, impressing the judging panel with his creativity, as well as his ability to apply sustainable practises to the drink.
The cocktail was a ‘nod of respect’ towards Linfitt’s industry friends, comprising Diplomático Planas alongside pear and nasturtium liqueur, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf hard seltzer. It was served as a low ball.
Linfitt explained: “I wanted to make a hard seltzer that would bring acidity and depth but also a light bubbled mouthfeel using homegrown lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Working within our sustainable Ugly Butterfly ethos, I received offcuts of in-season local pear from our kitchen. These flavoursome trimmings were a great addition to the base spirit of vodka and locally foraged nasturtium.
“The pear and nasturtium liqueur brought sweetness, fruity notes and a wonderful light white pepper tingle, partnering incredibly well with Diplomático Planas’s super tasty tropical notes of coconut”
Dean MacGregor, Diplomático rum UK ambassador commented: ‘Josh absolutely nailed the concept of the competition in which he celebrated his community and peers of the industry, through his use of both locally grown and discarded ingredients from his restaurant’s kitchen.
“His impressive and creative use of homemade ingredients resulted in a stunning multi-layered serve allowing Diplomático Planas to shine through.”
Judge Tatiana Velez added: “It was a true delight to have the opportunity to taste such outstanding cocktails and judge such talent and craft. It was also quite tough as all the finalists did an incredible job. It was brilliant to see sustainable cocktails that were stunning and creative – we have serious talent in this country.”
Linfitt said: “This competition has been in my crosshairs for a very long time. Each drink at the UK heat was insanely tasty and it was amazing to witness how much effort, time, care and passion had gone into everyone’s concept and drinks, and how each bartender used Diplomático rum in totally different ways.”
Linfitt will join other regional winners on a trip to Venezuela in 2023, and his recipe will be published in the brand’s 2023 Zero Waste Cocktail Book.
Daniel Bovey from the Hyde Group and Shaun Hall from Witney came in second and third position, respectively.
Last month Diplomático was acquired by Brown-Forman.
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Author: Georgie Collins