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Top bartenders vie for coveted prize tomorrow
Having been treated to a lavish dinner last night, at the Westmoorings residence of Angostura CEO Wayne Yip Choy, finalists in the 2011 Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge will face off tomorrow at Zen Nightclub, Keate Street, Port-of-Spain. The competition is among ten of the top bartenders in the world, and they will be vying for a cash prize, the championship trophy, and bragging rights as the best Angostura bartender on the planet.
The bartenders from around the globe arrived last Thursday, and visited the House of Angostura yesterday for the day, touring and doing rum appraisals. Tomorrow’s final begins at 1 pm and is expected to last five hours. The visiting bartenders will also be playing mas on Carnival Tuesday. One of the upsides of this epic final is that it is showcasing T&T to the world at a time when our twin-island state has its highest global visibility.
Angostura corporate communications manager, Giselle La Ronde-West, said: “It is not just about our product and how the bartenders see it, but about how they accept our country and what they take back home in memory.” In addition to Sunday’s final, Angostura is also having a distributor’s conference, to be attended by at least 35 distributors from around the world, coming to meet and exchange ideas as well.
Andy Griffiths is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge winner for Australia. He produced two stunning cocktails—Margadle Dram, using Angostura aromatic bitters, and St Andrew's Flip, using the iconic Angostura 1824 Rum. Jamaal Bowen: Just 26 years old, Jamaal Bowen is the Angostura Cocktail Challenge winner for the Caribbean. He said: “I wouldn’t trade my shaker for anything in the world!”
Michael Schaus, 36, is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge winner for North America. He has worked at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas since 2002. “My best friend is a bartender,” Schaus said. “I noticed how much he enjoyed it, so I gave it a shot. Loving it ever since!” Wolfgang Mayer: Wolfgang Mayer is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Finalist from Europe. At 28, he’s the eldest of four brothers and was born in Bavaria, Germany. He began bartending in 2003 at My Town and today works at the Widder-Hotel in Zürich, Switzerland.
Abel Emmanuel Ikwulono:
Abel Emmanuel Ikwulono is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Finalist from Africa. Born in Otukpo, Benue State, Nigeria, Abel is 29 and has been a bartender for five years. He has tended bar at Soul Lunch, Red Bar and De Marquee, and now works at Mr Ayo. Mariano Ramírez: Mariano Ramírez, 34, is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Finalist from South America. From Buenos Aires, Argentina, Mariano has 16 years of bartending experience and has worked as spirits brand ambassador for the distributor Bodega Tres Blasones since 2007.
Yangdup Lama, 38, of New Delhi, India, is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Finalist for India. With 14 years of experience, he’s a qualified bartending trainer and former head bartender for the Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Delhi. Norsalinah Binti Syed Osman: Norsalinah Binti Syed Osman is the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Finalist for Asia. Aged 31, she hails from Ipoh, Perak in Malaysia and has seven years of bartending experience. She is the senior bartender at the Twentyone Kitchen+Bar.
Kurt Schlechter, 36, from Johannesburg, South Africa, began his bartending career 16 years ago in the South African Navy has worked and competed around the world. A Flair Champion and mixology judge, Kurt calls himself “a hardworking fun-loving student of bartending!” Daniyel Jones: Daniyel Jones has been a bartender for five years, with stints as head bartender at Jaffa Fine Dining Restaurant and at TGI Fridays. Now self-employed, he is the Trinidad Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism Association Bartender of the Year 2011.
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