What would top your list of the world’s most exotic locations? The Bahamas or the Great Barrier Reef? The Maldives or the Pacific coastline of Mexico?
These are all up there among the globe’s most desirable places to visit. And they’ve formed a major part of the travel itineraries for top World Class bartenders in recent months too. Over the first half of 2016 our winners are visiting fabulous tropical climes as part of a programme of training and inspiration
being run between World Class and luxury hotel group One&Only
from Great Britain, Japan’s Michito Kaneko, Vítěslav Cirok
of the Czech Republic, Ariel Leizgold
from Israel, Jack Sotti
from Australia and Greece’s Emmanouil Lykiardopoulos
will be improving their tans and helping push bartending standards up at fabulous resorts around the world.
World Class expertise on offer
The aim is to have World Class bartenders distributing some of their expertise and hard-gained knowledge, while gaining publicity and training for One&Only and more worldwide presence for Reserve brands.
It’s the chance for an amazing trip, with the vibrant colours, aromas and atmosphere to provide long-term inspiration. Look out for the hashtag #DestinationsDistilled, being used to capture the bartender’s experience at each location.
World Class 2015 Global Final Winner Michito recently travelled to One&Only’s Palmilla property in Los Cabos
, Mexico. The hotel opened in 1956, and became a haunt of Hollywood celebrities who turned it into an exotic hideaway.
Michito took inspiration from the beauty and quiet sanctuary of his location, as well as the fabulous produce available in local markets in nearby town San Jose del Cabo.
Delicate aromas and mineral-rich water
He took a fresh lime, a homemade wine syrup in which chamomile had been steeped, mineral-rich salt water, homemade vanilla soda and shook with Don Julio 1942 tequila
. He then poured into a champagne glass, into which he had sprayed more Don Julio 1942.
“The delicate aromatics of the vanilla work wonderfully with the aromas found in Don Julio 1942 tequila, quite possibly because vanilla was born in Mexico, making the two of them relatives so to speak,” says Michito.
“For me, a cocktail is all about an experience and I have interpreted the ocean air and golden desert sands of the Baja Peninsula to create a cocktail that, I hope, speaks of the timeless elegance of One&Only Palmilla and smooth palate of Don Julio 1942.”
“My approach to the art of mixology is to create harmony between the spirit, ingredients and textures and what I attempted to do was recreate the elegance of a vintage champagne in a uniquely Mexican drink,” says Michito.
Ali Reynolds travels to the Bahamas
Before Michito, Ali Reynolds, head bartender at Hawksmoor Spitalfields, took up the visiting bartender reins, travelling to One&Only’s Bahamas resort in January
. He was dropped into a world of crystal beaches, white sand and tropical gardens.
“It’s such a beautiful location, the perfect place to promote cocktails and the desirable locations you can enjoy them in,” says Ali.
“Drinks so often take a back seat to the chefs – and the food at the resort was truly outstanding – so it was good to be able to help out. It’s not easy going to someone else’s bar and telling them how to do things, but they were so welcoming.”
Ali trained the staff in the flavours and history of Reserve brands. Plus he ran through a cocktail he’d created especially for the occasion so that they could make it and describe its qualities. ‘Ocean Club’ was served at an event celebrating his presence at the hotel. It consisted of Zacapa rum
, Campari lime and sugar syrup – plus infused mango and coconut. The tropical influence was present, but in a subtle way.
Waiting for mangoes
It was so subtle as to be nearly non-existent, however. Ali had to wait for a shipment of mangoes – 1,000 islands make up the Bahamas and not all of them grow the fruit. He visited a local market on the first day, but the mango delivery had yet to turn up.
Fortunately the hotel gardeners cut down a whole load of coconuts growing on the estate so he could start the drink. And the mangoes eventually arrived.
Zacapa was the base because “it had to be rum. The spirit is so much part of their lifestyle.”
The cocktail was finished with a tall, mainly blue feather, in a nod to the colours of the Bahamas.
Home of Hemingway
“I used have a flag book as a kid, so I’m pretty good on different emblems!” says Ali. “It ties in nicely because Hemingway wrote his books in this part of the world, hence the quill of the writer. Plus there’s the idea of the signature serve.”
It wasn’t all about writing, however. There was plenty of filming of his stay – which you can see on the World Class YouTube site and above.
“I kept saying to the crew that I wanted to have a swim. But we were shooting so much that I thought I wouldn’t get in the water. Luckily I managed a late-night dip on the final evening!
So check out the cocktail below – and look out for news and videos of the other contestants’ trips to great One&Only venues.
Michito Kaneko’s One&Only Palmilla Cocktail
45ml Don Julio 1942
10ml Fresh lime juice
15ml Homemade wine syrup (Sauternes and chamomile)
5ml Salt water
20ml Homemade vanilla soda
Add sugar to a pan, then Sauternes sweet wine. Infuse with a few heads of chamomile. Gently simmer to create a syrup, then add to Don Julio 1942 tequila, along with salt water and lime juice. Shake together and pour into a vintage champagne glass.
To create the vanilla syrup, add water, a vanilla bean to a soda maker. Spritz, then pour into the champagne glass, to top the shaken ingredients. Gently stir and serve.
Ali Reynolds’ One&Only Ocean Club Cocktail
40ml Ron Zacapa infused for 30mins with dried mango and dried coconut
5ml Sugar syrup
Dash lime juice, including oils from the skin
Shake all ingredients together, strain into a tall glass. Top with soda and add a Macaw feather to garnish.
Have a go at mixing these two fabulous cocktails – and look around at other great cocktails and stories here on World Class.