The Cocktail & Signature Serve Masters 2022 results
The trend for making cocktails at home has not wavered since the end of Covid-19 lockdowns. In our annual competition, our judges put brands’ recommended serves to the test.
The art of cocktail making has well and truly infiltrated homes, bolstered by Covid-19 lockdowns. Consumers discovered, and rediscovered, the joy of stirring and shaking their own Friday night tipples when the on-trade was shuttered.
It’s nearly three years since Covid-19 gripped the world, and at-home cocktails continue to play a part in regular socialising, existing simultaneously alongside the reopened bar trade.
Now in its second year, The Cocktail & Signature Serve Masters looks to assess the best of recommended brand recipes. The judges assessed each drink on appearance, aroma, taste and balance, but also factored in how easy the cocktail was to construct, and how accessible the ingredients would be to find or make.
The 2022 judging panel comprised Matt Chambers, co-founder of the Whisky For Everyone blog and spirits writer, and Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business magazine and chair of The Global Spirits Masters Competitions. Megan Smith, former bartender, and events executive at The Spirits Business, took the lead in mixing this year’s cocktail entries.
Tangy and fruity
The first flight presented a plethora of vodka-based serves from Pur Sang Vodka. Of the six entries, one, Gentleman Jean, was awarded the top Master award. Chambers found this to be “nice and fresh” on the nose, leading to a “tangy and fruity palate with nice fizz, a decent level of citrus and red fruit”.
Three Gold medals were also awarded to Vesta, Phoenix Tail, and Tudor. Vesta had “very impressive presentation”, and the judges enjoyed “burnt sage and red fruit” on the nose, and “a hint of floral lavender” on the palate. Phoenix Tail attracted the panel’s attention with its “vibrant pink, beetroot-like” colour, leading to a “tangy, earthy and fruity” flavour profile.
Gold-winning Tudor offered “lots of orange and cherry” on the nose, leading to “maple syrup sweetness” on the palate and “some orange zest”.
Pur Sang Vodka completed its medal haul with two Silver awards for Dragon’s Tear, and Twilight.
Kiely said: “This flight shows the versatility of vodka with the broad assortment of ingredients used in these serves.”
In the following Whisky heat, a Gold-worthy cocktail was enjoyed in the form of Waterproof Downpour Highball. The nose brought vibrant “aromas of whisky with a hint of lemon and something floral”. Chambers noted the “very good” balance of this cocktail, with “ a hint of sweetness and elderflower” on the palate. “Super-refreshing,” he added, “with a late hit of lemon and white chocolate. Very pleasant indeed.”
The Rum round continued the Gold trend as Takamaka secured a medal for Passion in Paradise. The judges were taken with the “bright lemon zest and passionfruit” on the nose: “Zesty, fruity, smells lovely,” noted Kiely. The taste was “sharp; delicious and tangy”, but could be enhanced by just a splash more rum, the judges agreed. “Overall, this is very tasty,” Kiely added.
In the Liqueurs contingent, another Master medallist was found in the form of Carajillo 43. The combination of coffee and Licor 43 delighted the judges in its simple, effective execution.
“Great nose of creamy coffee, and lovely appearance with a good foamy head,” commented Chambers. “Very nice on the palate, with great combination of coffee and sweetness, a hint of confected orange and something herbal in the background.”
Villa Massa & Tonica scooped a Gold medal, enjoyed for its “divine” fresh basil aroma. The palate was found to be “light and well balanced – a very refreshing summer serve. Zestiness of limoncello lingers on the finish”.
In the closing round of the day – Low & No – a trio of medals were awarded. A Master accolade was presented to Karma Sucra Mockapolitan. The aroma gave “fresh strawberry” notes, and was “impressively Cosmo-like”, despite its lack of alcohol, the judges agreed.
“I don’t know how much closer you could get to a no-ABV Cosmo, and pre-mixed,” said Kiely. “Very clever.”
A Gold medal was awarded to The Vida Loca Mockarita. Tasting notes included: “Plenty of lime on the nose, fresh and vibrant, quite tart on the palate.”
A Silver medal was handed to Scottish Lemonade Mockscow Mule.
The three Master medallists were then reshaken and stirred for the judges to determine The Cocktail & Signature Serve Taste Master 2022. Each entry was vastly different, making this decision difficult for the judges. However, after careful deliberation, the favourite serve of the day was Carajillo 43, which walked away with the Taste Master title.
Reflecting on the competition, Chambers noted: “The quality was very impressive, from very simple creations to drinks that were a bit more complicated. The overall theme, for the most part, seemed to be fruit – whether that’s citrus, berries, or something else. This worked well, as everyone can easily get oranges, limes or lemons, or garnishes like basil, mint and sage. It showed you can make really good cocktails with simple ingredients, and sometimes that’s the best approach to make the best recipes that can be easily recreated at home.”
Earlier this week, SB announced the winners of The Gin Masters – Second Tasting 2022 competition.
|Pur Sang Vodka||Gentleman Jean||Master|
|Pur Sang Vodka||Vesta||Gold|
|Pur Sang Vodka||Phoenix Tail||Gold|
|Pur Sang Vodka||Tudor||Gold|
|Pur Sang Vodka||Dragon’s Tear||Silver|
|Pur Sang Vodka||Twilight||Silver|
|MacDuff International||Waterproof Downpour Highball||Gold|
|Takamaka||Passion in Paradise||Gold|
|Zamora Company||Carajillo 43||Master & Taste Master|
|Zamora Company||Villa Massa & Tonica||Gold|
Low & No
|Mocktail Beverages||Karma Sucra Mockapolitan||Master|
|Mocktail Beverages||The Vida Loca Mockarita||Gold|
|Mocktail Beverages||Scottish Lemonade Mockscow Mule||Silver|