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Ukrainian wins The Swizzle Masters 2012

After a year of mixing, sipping, deliberating and judging, Ukrainian Kirill Maslenikov is crowned the king of the Swizzle Masters 2012.

The Swizzle Masters 2012 semi-final cocktails

The cocktails over the course of the year have been as varied as they have been creative, which is to say a lot.

Our tireless judges have sampled them all, but none caused quite as much a stir prior to tasting as the cocktail that actually won it for Maslenikov, Sunday Lover.

With 40ml of Jagermeister – a spirit that has professed itself not designed to be mixed in cocktails – courting 60ml of VSOP Cognac, and creme de cacao, it raised a couple of eyebrows over the course of the competition.

But the eyebrows were raised even higher when the panel actually tasted it; a charismatic, herbal yet rounded drink with a hint of chocolate sweetness, the Cognac was beautifully framed by the other ingredients, taking the best they had to offer to bring it all together in a harmonious flavour medley that was unlike anything the judges had come across over the course of the competition.

Time and time again, it impressed the judges in the semi-final, and then was the hands down winner in the end, winning its creator a trip to competition sponsor Wenneker’s distillery in Holland.

Maslenikov’s Sunday Lover, however, was not the only star of the show, even if it was the brightest. All those that made it through to the semi-final were the pick of the crop, the most ingenious and creative products – astoundingly different, while still managing to respect the cardinal flavour pairing rules of mixology.

We take a closer look at each of the cocktails that had it to the Swizzle Masters semi-final on the following pages…

WINNER: Sunday Lover by Kirill Maslenikov

This bold and brazen cocktail contains a heady selection of ingredients, most notably 40ml of Jagermeister blended with 60ml of Remi Martin VSOP – not the kind of recipe you come across everyday. Despite the repeated consternation of the judges when they read the recipe prior to trying it, time and again, it proved to be a winner, with the base spirit really complemented by the Jagermeister, and softened by the creme de cacao.

“Lovely balance. Doesn’t look good on paper, but works in the glass. Full-on flavour explosion,” said SB editor and semi-final judge Richard Woodard.

60ml Remi Martin VSOP
40ml Jagermeister
15ml Wenneker Creme de Cacao (brown)

Stir thoroughly and pour into chilled Old Fashioned filled with ice. Aromatise with orange zest and garnish with grated orange zest.

SECOND PLACE: Spring Promise by Nelson Bernardes

A surprisingly soft cocktail given that its base spirit is absinthe. The flavours all married beautifully to offer a rounded and vegetal character, knitted together with silky egg white.

“Simple, but elegant visually. Absinthe combines with cucumber for an interesting contrast of flavours, assisted by the fruitiness of the lychee”, said Richard Ridley, export director for Wenneker Liqueurs.

30ml La Fée Absinthe
25ml Wenneker Lychee
20ml Fresh lemon juice
15ml Cucumber syrup
15ml Egg white

Shake and double strain into coupette. Garnish with a mint sprig.

THIRD PLACE: L’amour in Paris by Mate Csatlos

L’amour in Paris is a flirty, zesty and zingy affair, if it’s anything like Mate Csatlos’ cocktail. The wide ranging spectrum of ingredients and flavours (from clove syrup to plum eau de vie and pineapple) melded together to create a vibrant and juicy drink.

It lost out to the previous two cocktails possibly because it hid the base spirit slightly, rather than bringing it to the foreground.

30ml Gin
20ml Plum eau de vie
15ml Wenneker Vanilla
20ml Lime juice
15ml Clove syrup
3 chunks fresh pineapple

Muddle the pineapple and then shake with other ingredients, strain into vintage Martini glass and garnish with dried hibiscus powder in the shape of a heart (hibiscus powder wasn’t available for this competition, so a strawberry slice was used as a garnish instead).

Dina by Kirill Maslenikov

This take on a whisky aperitif cocktail brought the fruit flavours in Scotch to life with 20ml of Wenneker sour apple and Aperol to add a freshness and tang to the drink. Below that, layers of warmer biscuit added depth, but didn’t quite hold their own, resulting in a slight loss of focus in the flavours.

1 dash (5 drops) Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters
10ml Aperol
20ml Wenneker sour apple
50ml Scotch

Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Aromatize with orange peel and garnish with an apple slice and red grape circle

Sophie-stication by The Swizzle Master

The Swizzle Master’s drink had won the gin round with a decent margin, securing its place in the semi-final. The freshness of the strawberries and the warmth of the ginger complimented the gin sour base, and the pulpy strawberry flesh gave it a feminine voluptuousness that made it a great drink. However it wasn’t quite good enough to win the 2012 competition outright.

35ml Edgerton Pink gin
15ml Wenneker Strawberry
25ml Lemon juice
10ml gomme
2 strawberries
Small disk of root ginger
Dash orange bitters

Muddle strawberries, ginger and gomme. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with half a strawberry and a lemon spiral.

Summer of Matador by Philip Huy

Summer of Matador is up there with some of the most cooling cocktails around. The combination of melon and watermelon liqueur married well with the vegetal flavours of the Tequila, but kept a lid on the well known Tequila burn, making it a thirst quenching and fruity drink. Dangerously easy to drink…

30ml Tequila
20ml Wenneker Melon
10ml Wenneker Watermelon
20ml Pineapple juice
10ml Lime juice
10ml Agave syrup

Mix all ingredients except the Wenneker Watermelon. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Add crushed ice and crown with the watermelon liqueur. Garnish with three pieces of sliced ginger, pineapple and a mint sprig.

Barbarossa by Ivica Misic

This tiki-tastic creation has oodles of character: with rum, passionfruit and Triple Sec, the flavour is fruity, sultry and more-ish. The judges were all very optimistic, but felt ultimately the rum was a little lost under the 100ml of orange juice.

30ml Angostura rum
20m Wenneker passion fruit
10ml Wenneker Triple Sec
10ml Grenadine
10ml Lime juice
100ml Orange juice

Shake all ingredients except the orange juice with ice. Strain into a Martini glass and add orange juice. Garnish with a slice of kumquat, cherry and mint.

Wondertiki by Janneke Timmerman

This is a tropical holiday in a glass. Each uncomplicated flavour marries in a wonderfully straightforward way with the other, to create a smooth, carefree tropical island of a drink. The judges enjoyed the simple yet fully integrated flavours that made this a Wondertiki-ful drink.

30ml rum
10ml Wenneker Creme de banane
20ml Wenneker Peach
5ml Wenneker Apricot Brandy
5ml Lemon juice
Dash Angostura bitters

Method: Shake ingredients together and garnish with banana, peach, mint.

Quiet Angel by Niels van Horssen

A lady killer of a cocktail – the dulcet flavours of lychee, coconut and guava juice, piqued with a sturdy 50ml of vodka made this a hit with the female judges, guaranteeing this gentle pink sipper a place in the semi final. However its lack of a garnish lost it crucial points when it came to choosing the top five cocktails.

50ml Vodka
25ml Wenneker Lychee
25ml Guava juice
10ml Coconut syrup
15ml lime juice
Shake the ingredients together and pour over ice in a long glass.

Hot Summer by Ivica Misic

Another whisky aperitif, this Negroni-esque cocktail had complexity and character. The whisky maintained centre stage while balancing the Martini Rosso, Triple sec and Campari. It had all the attributes of an aperitif, whetting the appetite and being savoury enough to lead naturally into a meal.

30ml Johnnie Walker Black
20ml Wenneker Triple Sec
20ml Martini rosso
1 dash Campari
1 dash Wenneker Limoncello

Shake ingredients and strain into chilled Margarita glass. Garnish with star fruit, an orange spiral and a marashino cherry.

Cereza Sueno by Mihai Fetcu

Cherries and Tequila work well in this long refreshing drink, highlighting Tequila’s mixability with a range of flavours. The mint added freshness and balanced the sugar, making this an ideal sipper to cool any summer sun.

4 mint leaves
5ml rich gomme
30ml Blanco Tequila
30ml Wenneker Cherry Brandy
2 dashes Fee Brothers cherry bitters
30ml Cherry juice
Top with soda water

Bruise mint leaves and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir together and add crushed ice. Garnish with two cherries and a sprig of mint.

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