Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The World's Best Meets Manila's Finest: Diageo Reserve World Class 2015 at Blackbird

The world's best meets the metro's best. For one evening, some of the best spirits in the world, and the metro's best bartenders, converged last January 26 at Blackbird for an evening of bold, refreshing, playful, and imaginative cocktails. 

Now on its seventh year, Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year, one of the cocktail industry's most prestigious and respected mixology competitions worldwide, kicks off its 2015 edition with twenty of the metro's very best bartenders from sixteen of Manila's finest establishments. 

The diversity and range of flavors highlight the creativity and unique, individual style of the participating bartenders, with each cocktail taking you on a flavorful journey with traditional classics reinvented with playful, modern twists. "World Class is back and is bigger than ever for the Philippines this year, and we are proud to send out a representative from one of the best bars for the upcoming global competition," shares Jon Good, General Manager for Diageo Philippines. "This stellar 20-bartender line-up represents the thriving cocktail culture that we have in the Philippines, a culture that is continuously and steadily growing, and we're happy and excited to shine the spotlight on these talented men and women to show everyone what our country has to offer." 

Drawing inspiration from the rich aviation heritage of the Nielsen Tower, and Blackbird's modern reinvention, this year's Diageo World Class launch paid homage to vintage jet-set chic, recreating a unique journey from the golden age of travel. And you can expect this year's edition to elevate the craft of mixology to even higher levels.

At the very core of each cocktail are some of the finest spirits and world-class brands from the Diageo Reserve Portfolio, including Johnnie Walker Platinum Label (L), and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve (R)...

...the full range of Mexico's iconic Don Julio Tequila (L), and the uniquely blended "snap-frost" grape-based vodka, Ciroc (R), from France (R)...

 ...the Dutch Ketel One Vodka (L), made from 100% wheat and distilled in copper pot stills, and the classic Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky of Glen Ord (R) from the famed Scottish Highands...
...the premium Tanqueray No. Ten (L), the perfect gin for martinis from the brand said to be a favorite of the notorious Rat Pack, and the legendary Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Bulleit Bourbon (R), with its signature high rye content (R), each weaving its own distinct notes in the various cocktails prepared by Manila's Finest. 

That evening, we had a closer look, and taste, of the premium Tanqueray No. Ten before sampling the different cocktails. Crafted from Tanqueray's No. Ten Still, this elegant gin is distilled with a rich blend of botanicals, including fresh citrus fruits, juniper, chamomile, and licorice, with a velvety smooth and dry finish, making this a perfect base for your favorite martini.

Tanqueray Global Ambassador Barrie Wilson conducted a special mentoring session at the Blackbird Cabin for the premium Tanqueray No. Ten, with its elegant bottle design which celebrates the golden era of cocktails when the Martini was the connoisseur's cocktail of choice.  With a pleasant and flowery bouquet that tingles in the nose, a sip releases the distinct notes of the rich blend of botanicals that slides down like silk.

To demonstrate Tanqueray No. Ten's versatility, Barrie Wilson shared one of his favorite cocktails using Tanqueray No. Ten, a smooth and sweet concoction with Calvados and Apricot Brandy. Smooth and elegant, it's the perfect cocktail to start with before the next round of cocktails from Manila's finest. 

Then, it was time to make the rounds with the featured cocktails for the evening, starting with Dondz Bolante of Finders Keepers and his sweet and spicy Mayon Eruption, a blend of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Egg, Red Pepper, Black Forest Syrup, Sugar Syrup, Angostura Bitters, Lemons, and Biscocho. Rich notes yet balanced.

Reymond de Jesus of Makati Shangri-La's Sage Bar prepared his elegant Ticket No. Ten, with Tanqueray No. Ten, Galliano, Olive Oil Infused with Sage, Eggs, Lemon Juice, and Sugar Syrup. The infusion of the bar's signature herb adds a distinct and refreshing note. 

Sean Carlos de Vera of Black Sheep mixed up his Walker's Journey, a sweet blend with a local twist of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Sugarcane Wine, Calamansi, and Sugar Syrup. The sweetness is perfectly balanced by the sharpness of the calamansi for another refreshing cocktail.

Gavino Lazarra of 71 Gramercy adds a fiery finish with his sweet and citrusy Don Julio at Ocho Rios, with Don Julio Blanco, Cointreau, Grapefruit Juice, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup infused in Vanilla, and Black Pepper. This one's a party in a glass, and gets you in the groove in no time.

James Ortiz of Fairmont Lounge Bar served his bold yet smooth Bulleit Ride to Europe, with the distinct smoky notes of Bulleit Bourbon, Ramazzotti Amaro, Grand Marnier, and Orange Bitters. A classic cocktail with upfront notes, a classy cocktail that's smooth and right.

Michael Anthony Laude of M Cafe executed his whimsical London Before Lunch, recreating the classic cool mist of the old city with Tanqueray No. Ten, Pear Fennel Mulled Wine, Lemon Juice, Egg Whites, and Angostura Bitters. Rich, creamy with just a hint of a citrusy bite, this one's downright comforting.

Kenneth Bandivas of ABV shared his Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a citrusy blend of deep, bold and smoky notes from Bulleit Bourbon, Apricot Brandy, Honey Syrup, Lemon Juice, and Chocolate Bitters. The chocolate bitters, honey and Bulleit Bourbon combine for an elegantly smooth cocktail.

Anthony White of Hooch spins his usual flair with his rich and flavorful Flying Scotman, a unique blend of Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Cherry Heering, Campari, Lemon Juice, Cinnamon Syrup, and Brown Sugar. The sweetness and distinct notes from the spices weave a flavorful blend in every sip. 

Poch Ancheta of The Curator blends a classic cocktail with his Manhattan de Monaco, a smooth concoction with Singleton of Glen Ord 12, Dry Vermouth, Benedictine, and Angostura Bitters. The classic man's drink evoked the elegance of a formal bygone era. Simple, straightforward with bold flavors.  

Glomel Rapues of Solaire Resorts & Casino adds a playful rosemary torch with his Eiffel's Cocktail, a smooth mix of Ciroc Vodka, Seedless Grapes, Lemon Juice, Dolin Vermouth, and Rosemary Leaves, lit up to release a lingering aroma while adding a playful theatrical element.

Orman Bag-Ao of Raffles Long Bar adds a distinct regional twist with his playfully inventive Land of Promise, a unique concoction with Ciroc Vodka, Aperol, Pomelo Juice, Cranberry Juice, Lemon Juice, and Durian. Yup, durian. And it works quite well. 

Em-Em Bautista of Sofitel Philippine Plaza serves her soothing and comforting Burkingham Fizz, a light and refreshing blend of Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Apple Juice, Cucumber Juice, Honey, and Soda Water. It's the perfect cocktail to wind down with, with its subtle notes.

Twelve cocktails down, with eight to go. Just eight too many, as the DJs spin the tunes to a festive evening. At this time, walking straight and focusing your lens right becomes a slight problem. With so many more cocktails yet to discover and experience, I sadly call it a night. I was in a way too happy mood. I have to come back and try Vanessa Correa of Nest Modern Table & Bar's 8 Temples of Ganesha, Dianne See of Saboten's Scotty's Tea and Biscuit, Michael Tubiera of Rambla's Sweet Escape to Italy, Mark Herrera of Niner Ichi Nana's Zephyr, Samuel Alcantara of Makati Shangri-La's Sage Bar's Above the Clouds, Jess Saludo of Solaire Resorts & Casino's Amsterdam Fairy, Efren Madrigal of Sofitel Philippine Plaza's Around the Orbis, and Alyona Jeffery of Speakeasy's bacon-infused Dima. Still, it was an impressive evening, and the different cocktails indicate the developing and blossoming mixology scene in the metro.

If you ask me, all the cocktails are already winners, proving just how far the local mixology scene has reached with the help of Diageo World Class. "Diageo Reserve World Class will put everything in the realm of bartending to the test. The competition requires creativity and precision. On top of that, it puts weight in the performance that each bartender puts forth behind the bar for his or her customer. It's about that connection that they form with who they present their drink to," shares Barrie Wilson. "It is without a doubt that the upcoming competition will bring each representative to push their own boundaries and to test out unfamiliar flavors and techniques, which they will be getting their hands on in some of the best bars from all over the globe."

Innovation, creativity, and world-class excellence. Here's to some of the world's best spirits, and the Metro's best bartenders...and another round soon, cheers!

Diageo is the  world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer, and wine categories. For more information about Diageo, visit www.diageo.com.

Dude for Food is now on Facebook, check out the FB Page for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB "Like" widget on the right sidebar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to share? I'd love to hear from you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...