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Flor de Caña crowns cocktail competition champion

Bartender Manachain Monaghan stormed to victory in the global final of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Cocktail Challenge.

Manachain Monaghan Flor de Caña
Manachain Monaghan fought off fierce competition to win the Flor de Caña Sustainable Cocktail Challenge

Monaghan, owner of Below Stairs Bar in Leeds, UK, was among 30 global finalists who competed in a tense two-day virtual contest, which was streamed live via Flor de Caña’s Facebook and YouTube pages on 25 and 26 October.

Each entrant was tasked with creating a cocktail to be assessed according to four criteria: sustainability, flavour and appearance, creativity, and backstory and inspiration.

Monaghan impressed the judges with his winning cocktail, Steamship – a zero-water-waste cocktail prepared with homemade cacao and lime bitters, coffee liqueur made from re-used Nicaraguan coffee beans and Fair Trade-certified sugar, drops of saline solution and Flor de Caña 12 Years Old rum. The cocktail was served over a block of ice on a coaster made from dehydrated pear.

The judges comprised: Salvatore Calabrese, The Donovan Bar in London; Julio Cabrera, Café La Trove in Miami; and Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, co-owners and organisers of London Cocktail Week.

Commenting on the drink, he said: “I wanted to create a beautiful cocktail that captured the essence of Nicaragua and proved that sustainability can be embraced behind the bar to improve the flavour and experience of our cocktails.”

As the winner, Monaghan receives the title of Flor de Caña World’s Most Sustainable Bartender and a prize of US$10,000.

Second place was awarded to Carlos Sierra from Colombia, while third place went to Joe Ngui Wee Kwong from Malaysia, who received US$5,000 and US$2,000 respectively.

Calabrese said: “Monaghan fulfilled every expectation of the competition, his cocktail was absolutely amazing, he blew my mind.

“It’s incredible the amount of time and effort he dedicated to make sure that his cocktail was truly and totally sustainable.”

Following the success of the first competition, Flor de Caña confirmed the competition would return in 2022 as part of the brand’s sustainability programme: Together for a greener future.

Click the video below to watch the announcement of the winner.

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