Diplomatico World Tournament + Booze Cruise

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Y’all, I had the fabulous opportunity attend the Diplomatico World Tournament US Final on 12 Jan. This round of the competition pitted six excellent bartenders from around the country against one another to make the greatest Rum cocktail ever and go to Venezuela to represent the USA in the World Final. Awesome cocktails. Awesome Rum.

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We’re talking REALLY awesome Rum. I will be getting some Diplomatico soon and will give y’all a thorough review and some recipes soon. As a member of the press, I was treated to a Rum tasting while viewing the competition. Here’s my quick run down of the Rums from Top Left to Bottom Right:

  • Añejo: a blend of 2-4 year Rums. Fruity, grapey, wheaty, caramel, vibrant, playful, light. Would totes use in shaken cocktails.
  • Blanco: aged for 6 years and then charcoal filtered, made from molasses and sugarcane honey. Straightforward and smooth. Would also totes use in shaken cocktails.
  • Reserva: aged for 8 years, made from molasses and sugarcane honey. Orange, cola, spice, banana, caramel, nutty, darker fruits. I’d lean toward a stirred drink but would still use shaken.
  • Reserva Exclusiva: aged 12 years. low, dark, cinnamon, dried apricots, prunes, banana. Velvety wonderfulness. Wow, just WOW. I took a sip and had to just sit there for a minute. It’s sweet on it’s own so be careful using it with sweet modifiers.
  • 2000 Vintage: made from sugarcane honey, aged in bourbon casks and then sherry casks. currants, salinity, orange. Love it. Would sip neat or perhaps use in a stirred drink.
  • Ambassador: Aged in bourbon casks for 12 years and then finished in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Fabulousness in every sip. really reminded me of cognac, dark fruits, caramel, anise, coffee, tobacco, dark chocolate. Sip neat or maybe with a little dilution.

Back to the competition: the judging panel included Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail, Leo Robitschek, the NoMad Bar man (y’all know how I feel about NoMad), as well as Nick Nistico, the US representative in the 2013 World Tournament. The cocktail was judged across several categories including Presentation, Taste, Originality and Technique.

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This is Nick Meyer, a bartender at Brilliantshine in Santa Monica, CA. This is the man who won. Now, as I was born in Santa Monica, I was immediately biased. Then when his cocktail was all Bananarama, I was like so much more biased! Win Bananaman from Santa Monica, WINNNNNN the World Tournament! Y’all, he made his own Banana Phosphate (like Banana soda) and the judges kept sipping it the whole time. Tasty business.TIKI! Here’s the fabulous recipe:

“Chimpin’ Aint Easy”

.75 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz Housemade Macadamia Piloncillo Syrup
.75 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
.5 oz Diplomático Anejo
1.5 oz Housemade Banana Phosphate
Method: Served on crushed ice with a metal straw

Garnishes:
Edible marigolds candied with banana dust
Kona coffee grounds mixed with bitter chocolate shavings dusted on top
Banana chips

Killer right? Such a great drink. You could totally drink this all night. Maybe I will move back home to Santa Monica….

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After the competition, there was a Booze Cruize! And on this Booze Cruize, we got to taste each of the drinks in the competition. Here’s Bananarama, or as it’s officially known, “Chimpin’ Ain’t Easy”:

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Now, my fave drink of the night was actually by Ryan Gannon from Cure in New Orleans, LA. Though Bananarama was sensational, I felt this one showcased the Rum a little bit better and the Amaro was awesome in it. Again, TIKI!

“Little Boots”

1 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
1 oz Amaro Montenegro
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Orgeat
35 drops Bittermens Tiki Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in the mixing tin and whip shake with one cracked
cube. Pour unstrained into Collins glass filled with cracked ice.

Garnish: 7 drops of angostura bitters and one lemon peel

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And here are the contestants + the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Tad Carducci of Tippling Brothers:

Totally fun event, totally tasty cocktails, totally delicious rum! Thanks to Diplomatico and the Baddish Group for having me!

Oh and P.S. I’m totally counting this post as #TikiTheSnowAway cause almost all of the drinks at the competition were Tiki Style. 

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