2012 sees the return of the Appleton Estate Bartender’s Challenge; a competition for bartenders across the world to showcase their skills and talent and pitch themselves against each other. Three of our best cocktail bartenders her at Island and a few from our sister venues have entered, so we’d like to tell you a little bit about what we’re doing.
The challenge claims to be more than “just a cocktail competition, it’s about finding the best all round bartender” and sees its final stage taking place in the home of Appleton Estate Rum, Jamaica.
Appleton Estate sits in the heart of Jamaican heritage and keeps tradition in mind being both the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica. They still harvest the sugarcane by hand, which is pretty impressive considering the area they must cover is over 11,000 acres and even their small batch distillation method has been handed down generations for more than 260 years, giving the range its distinctive taste.
There are a total of seven rums produced by the Appleton Estate ranging from the flagship VX, aged between five and ten years, right up to the 30 year old rum, which is pretty hard to get hold of and equally as pricey. Appleton also produce a few other rums, but as the sugarcane is not produced on their estate they aren’t included in this range, namely Wray & Nephew and Appleton White, but are both worth a taste.
Here at Island Bar we stock the Appleton White, VX and of course, Wray & Nephew. Both are used in several of our cocktails, including the recent Bartender’s Recommendation which came from Anthony Trueman and saw Appleton White fused with lychee liqueur and cherry brandy, lengthened with a splash of cranberry juice and fresh raspberries and finished with a dash of cherry bitters to round off the drink.
Attempting his first cocktail competition is our up and coming rum connoisseur Edd Fish whose recipe of Appleton VX mixed with vanilla schnapps, cinnamon syrup and cherry brandy fused with fresh raspberry puree, lime juice and grapefruit bitters to create a Caribbean Claret.
One of our other entries sees a mix of two cultures come together to create a delicate yet flavourful drink using Appleton VX stirred with a measure of Montbazillac dessert wine and blended with dry curacao and homemade Wray & Nephew falernum. The drink is called Patois Vin, referencing the name of the Jamaican Creole language and the use of French dessert wine to add a touch of sweetness to the drink and bring out notes of melon and peach and is created by Ed Shawcross.
Our monthly Rum Club is focusing on Appleton too (5th March 7pm), so why not come down and check out the Appleton range at Island Bar and try some of the Appleton rums or our cocktails using their range:
Appleton White (37.5%ABV) – £2.75 (25ml),
Appleton VX (40%ABV) – £2.75 (25ml)
Wray & Nephew Overproof (63%ABV) – £3.75 (25ml)
Atomic Jam cocktail (£5.75)
Ginger Lemon Treacle cocktail (£5.75)
Hurricane cocktail (£5.75)
Zombie cocktail (£6.75)