Charley Carrington from Last Chance bar in Nottingham, United Kingdom, was crowned the winner of the fifth annual Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition following a closely fought final in Istanbul, Turkey, last night [Thursday 27th September].
Charley and the other seven top bartenders competing in the final, were tasked with creating a cocktail that transcends borders, cities and cultures, and was inspired by their visit to Istanbul and the exchange of knowledge with their fellow contestants. Each cocktail was to contain no more than five ingredients and made using Opihr Gin. It was also important that the cocktail was deemed accessible to someone who has never tried Opihr Gin before, but also to seasoned gin lovers.
The judging panel, which was comprised of last year’s Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition champion, Aaron Pollack; Simone Caporale, formerly of Artesian at the Langham, London; Ondrej Pospichal, Spirit Evangelist at Proof & Company, Hong Kong; as well as Ibrahim Bulut, head bartender of the hosting venue Mikla, were impressed by Charley’s ability to add a multisensory experience to a cocktail and give her winning cocktail from the UK regional final a twist to link up with the hosting city.
Following her triumph, Charley commented, “I have had the most amazing time here in Istanbul and learned so much from my fellow bartenders. It means the absolute world to me to be crowned the global champion.”
The two days preceding the final were busy for the finalists with the group immersing themselves in Istanbul’s culturally rich streets and getting inspired by the city’s tastes and smells, as well as being introduced to new ingredients by their fellow bartenders from the world over. They embarked on a walking tour, the ‘Istanbul on food’, where the bartenders sourced their meals from a local market in the east of the city, followed by a visit to a local tea house, and a stroll through a spice market. At the market the contestants sourced local ingredients and props to bring their cocktails to life for the judges. On day two, the contestants were introduced to the skillful art of glassblowing, which left them in awe of the glassware they are using in their bars back home. The session offered further inspiration for the presentation of their final cocktail.
Crowned the Spirit of Opihr, Charley will now get the opportunity to work on exciting projects and support the Opihr brand team around the world in an honorary brand ambassador role.
Robert Milton, International Brand Director for Opihr Gin at brand owner, Quintessential Brands, states; “The calibre of the contestants has been impressive, and they have all shown tremendous interest in the local culture and understood what Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin is about – the journey and not necessarily the destination. We are already looking forward to next year’s competition, and are excited to follow the future journeys of all our bartenders who have become part of the Opihr family this week.”
Commenting on Charley’s winning creation, judge Ondrej Pospichal states: “I like how Charley’s cocktail was simple and modern and incorporated current drinks trends such as whey. I also like how she makes syrups and cordials at home. The cocktail is easy to replicate at home but complex enough for an adventurous bartender who would like to bring the unique taste of Opihr Gin to consumers in a different way.”
Charley’s winning cocktail ‘Serefe’ was:
50ml Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin
25ml Spiced pomegranate wine cordial
25ml Grapefruit/goat whey
The eight finalists in the Opihr World Adventure
Cocktail Competition 2018 were:
- Salvatore Calvo – Netherlands
- Julian Short – South Africa
- Barney O’Kane – Ireland
- Nguyen Thanh Trung – Vietnam
- Loreta Kwong – Australia
- Alan Alvarez – Mexico
- Charley Carrington – UK
- Alessio Turetta – Italy
ABOUT QUINTESSENTIAL BRANDS GROUP
Quintessential Brands is an award-winning international spirits company, dedicated to distilling and crafting the world’s best alcohol brands for consumers and customers globally. Pioneering spirits of the industry, inspired since 1761 by their founder, Thomas Dakin, Quintessential Brands Group delivers a diverse portfolio of award-winning, best-selling spirits with unrivalled heritage and craftsmanship.
Founded in 2011 by Enzo Visone, former CEO of Gruppo Campari, and entrepreneur, Warren Scott, Quintessential Brands Group owns world-class manufacturing facilities across Europe including G&J Distillers, the world’s oldest continuous gin distillers; L&L in France, a leading manufacturer of fruit spirits and liqueurs; First Ireland Spirits and the Dublin Liberties Distillery, which is part owned by Stock Spirits and scheduled to open in late 2018. Renowned for its white spirits expertise at G&J Distillers, Quintessential Brands has won International Spirit Challenge Gin Producer of the Year three times and is fast winning a reputation as one of the most exciting new Irish whiskey producers to emerge on the scene.
Quintessential Brands’ award-winning premium brands portfolio includes Greenall’s The Original Handcrafted Gin, BLOOM London Dry Gin, Thomas Dakin Small Batch Gin, Berkeley Square London Dry Gin, and Opihr Gin. Its Irish brands include The Dubliner Irish Whiskey, The Dublin Liberties Irish Whiskey, The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey, Feeney’s Irish Cream Liqueur and O’Mara’s Irish Country Cream. Liqueurs in the portfolio include Alizé and Toussaint Coffee Rum Liqueur. The company is also a leader in contract bottling and own label & private label spirits, working with retail partners across the world to provide unrivalled spirits solutions.