On November 22, the first of two qualifying rounds of the Swedish Diageo Reserve World Class competition took place at Nobis Hotel in Stockholm. 17 of Sweden’s best bartenders were kept busy during the day with workshops by celebrity judges Hidetsugu Ueno (Bar High Five, Tokyo) and Erik Lorincz (American Bar/Savoy, London) and different challenges. The theme was “classics with a twist”, and the competitors had to make a classic cocktail as well as a twist on one. To win, you had to show creativity, technique, knowledge, service skills and make the best drink – of course just in a few minutes while the judges were watching every move.
When it was time for the final challenge – the twist – only four contestants were left – Christoffer Nyström (Köttbaren), Emil Åreng (Rex Bar & Grill), Rikard Enell (Le Rouge) and Boudy Ghostine (Miss Voon – who managed to make his way to last year’s global World Class finals in Delhi, India).
Considering the pressure and the fact that they didn’t know on beforehand which classic cocktail to twist, all of them did a very good job. Some different techniques were used, like smoke and scented strings around the stem of the glass, and I think that the judges were quite impressed with the finalists’ efforts.
In the end there could be only one winner, and after a long day the judges announced that Rikard Enell had impressed them the most with his interpretation of Blood & Sand. He will represent Sweden in the European finals in London, and maybe even in the global finals in Rio de Janeiro this summer – fingers crossed!
As a bonus, here’s Rikard’s winning recipe:
Blood & Snow
35 ml Johnnie Walker Blue Label
18 ml Dolin dry vermouth
10 ml Swedish punsch
5 drops orange flower water
Around the stem of the coupette Rikard put a string scented with orange peel and carefully selected spices to simulate the taste of orange without using any in the drink.