It was simple: one competition, four rounds, one classic cocktail each week and the chance to win awesome cash prizes. Bartenders were tasked with submitting their rendition of the perfect recipe for the weekly classic cocktail. The criteria were straightforward but surprisingly challenging: stay true to the classic recipe, yet make the tastiest drink.
“It sounds like an absolute delight to sit down for 2 hours to drink variations of rum cocktails but determining the ‘perfect’ version of a classic cocktail was a tough task.” – Charlie Ainsbury
The Proof Creative team, led by Charlie Ainsbury, meticulously recreated every valid entry to a rotating panel of three respected industry experts. The entrants’ names, venues and recipes were hidden from the judges, allowing them to critique off appearance and taste alone. “It sounds like an absolute delight to sit down for 2 hours to drink variations of rum cocktails but determining the ‘perfect’ version of a classic cocktail was a tough task,” said Charlie. “Each round prompted intense discussions among the judges, who found themselves in a challenging situation to pinpoint the best cocktail”.
A big congrats to the winners who each took away a cool $1,000 cash prize.
- Mojito: Ned Roche, Breakfast Creek Hotel, Queensland
- Pina Colada: Emma Fayle, Blacksmith, Melbourne.
- Hemingway Daiquiri: Jordan Mouillet, Bloody Mary’s, Christchurch
- Mai Tai: Eizly Noraez, Austin Club, Christchurch
These bartenders didn’t just pocket prize money; they’ve shown that the underdog can come out on top and despite deep-rooted traditions of classic cocktails, it’s necessary to break the rules, adapting to contemporary palates.
The Plantation Classic Clash 2023 wasn’t just a throwdown – it was a month-long celebration of the classics, a showcase of creativity and the legacy of Plantation Rum. Congratulations to all the winners, and here’s to more clashing, crafting, and creativity! Keep pouring, keep experimenting, and keep challenging the norm.
A massive thanks to Michael Chiem and the team at PS40 for ongoing support of Plantation Rum and offering their space for countless hours mixing drinks.