Highlights from Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2012

by Geoffrey Kleinman

Angostura, known worldwide for their aromatic bitters, has established an annual Global Cocktail Challenge which brings together fifteen mixologists from around the world, from such far off places as South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Russia, and Kansas City. Each mixologist was tasked with creating two cocktails, a freestyle cocktail using Angostura's bitters, and a rum drink featuring one of Angostura's rums. Angostura recently launched their line of rums in the US, including a 3 year Reserva, 5 year, 7 year, and two specialty rums, 1919 (12 year) and 1824.

The winner of the challenge receives a check for $10K and becomes the Angostura Global Brand Ambassador for a year.

Judging the competition included such luminaries as Tony Abou-Ganim, Eric Forget, and Jacob Briars. Awards were given for Best Free Style Cocktail to Riki Carter from New Zealand, and Best Rum Cocktail and the big prize, Global Ambassador, to David Delaney, Jr. from Massachusetts.

Here are the two winning cocktails:

Best Rum Cocktail:

Johann's Bittered Sling
Riki Carter - Matterhorn Bar, New Zealand
  • 1 oz Angostura 1919 Rum
  • 3/4 oz Suze
  • 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1/3 oz Licor 43
  • 1/3 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 3/4 oz Limonata

Build in a cocktail glass adding all ingredients, ice, and Angostura aromatic bitters. Stir well and garnish with a lemon zest.

Best Free Style Cocktail:

On Second Thought
David Delaney, Jr.
  • 1 1/2 oz Laird's Apple Jack
  • 1/2 oz Benedictine
  • 1/2 oz Cherry Heering Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz Maple Syrup (medium grade "A")
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Add all ingredients into mixing tin, add ice, shake and strain into pre-chilled coupe. Garinsh with a cinnamon dusted, dehydrated lemon wheel and serve.

In addition to the winning cocktails, there were three standout cocktails that are worth noting. The first comes from Ezequiel Rodriguez of Argentina with an exploration of Angostura bitters as one of the base ingredients, incorporating a sizable 1/2 ounce into the drink.

Santisma Trinidad
Ezequiel Rodriguez, Frank's Bar - Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1 1/2 oz Angostura 7 Year Old Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz oz Angostura Bitters
  • 1 oz Dubonnet
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake and serve in a short rocks glass over ice. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

Another notable cocktail came from Rachel Ford of the Monkey Bar in New York, an exploration of bitterness that combines Green Chartreuse with Angostura Bitters.

Seventeenth Century
Rachel Ford, Monkey Bar - New York, NY
  • 1 1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1/4 oz Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Lemon Twist

Combine lemon twist and Angostura aromatic bitters in a 10oz Old Fashioned glass. Muddle peel to release essential oils. Add green chartreuse and ice. Stir to chill. Garnish with a heavy mist of Campari from an atomizer.

The final notable cocktail comes from Joe Sinagra from the Luxe Bar in Perth, and it's just plain delicious.

Black Chevron
Joe Sinagra, Luxe Bar - Perth, Australia
  • 1 oz Angostura 1919 rum
  • 1/2 oz Monin Vanilla syrup
  • 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 Bottle Mexican Coca Cola
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

Add rum, syrup, bitters in a milkshake glass. Top glass 2/3 full of ice. Fill glass 2/3 with Coca Cola and stir to mix together. Add ice cream and push down slightly to start the ice cream mixing into the drink. Gently top with more Coca Cola. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a spray of aromatic bitters. Serve on a saucer with straws and a latte spoon.

For a behind the scenes look at Angostura Bitters visit DrinkSpirits.com