Cuban bartender wins Havana Club Grand Prix

8th June, 2016 by Annie Hayes

Bartender Amaury Cepeda has been crowned winner of the 11th biannual Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix, held in Havana, Cuba.

Amaury Cepeda of Taberna Yayabu Bar in Cuba has been crowned winner of the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix

Cepeda, who hails from Taberna Yayabu Bar in Cuba, impressed the judging panel in a two-day final with his cocktail Cunyaya; made with Havana Club 7 Year Old, Havana Club Essence of Cuba Island Fruit, honey, sour orange, and fresh sugar cane juice.

Thirteen finalists were tasked with creating “the next rum classic serve” by combining Cuba’s cocktail tradition, authenticity and local ingredients with their own personal experiences.

Cepeda’s winning cocktail was inspired by the traditions of the slaves brought to Cuba in 1515, and created after a five-day brand experience with seminars, workshops and masterclasses.

He will now undertake a global rum project with Havana Club, where he will have the freedom to create his own rum, write a book on the spirit or even launch his own rum pop-up.

Povilas Veilandas from Lithuania was awarded second place for his cocktail Tres y Medio, while Marian Krause from Germany won third place with Cuban Cycle.

The judging panel featured mixologists from the World’s 50 Best Bars including Hidetsugo Ueno from Japan; Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni from Argentina; Alejandro Bolívar from Cuba; and Thanos Prunarus from Greece; along with cocktail and tiki expert Scotty Schuder; winner of the 2014 competition, Andy Loudon; and renowned spirits writer, Dave Broom.

Of his win, Cepeda said: “Cuban cantineros must have all their senses in their cocktail; their heart, their soul and a profound respect towards bartending. I am very proud to have won the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix and I am very looking forward to starting my collaboration with Havana Club. Above all, I am excited about having the opportunity to continue to better myself!”


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