Bartenders in Cambridgeshire are set to find out who is the best of the bunch in the brand-new annual Cambridge Cocktail League, which starts this week.
Local bartender Danny Wilson, who works at La Raza, has teamed up with Tom Arnold from Matthew Clark to devise the competition.
‘I started bartending in Cambridge only a few years ago and competitions were always down in London, so it was hard at the start to cut it with the big boys down there,’ explains Arnold. ‘But after a few, your confidence grows, and you network and learn techniques and presentation ideas.
‘I wanted to create an opportunity for bartenders to gain confidence and [develop]ideas on a local stage to prepare to compete on a higher stage. We have great bars in Cambridge. It’s about breaking down the barriers and becoming one big bartending community, bouncing ideas off each other and making the cocktail game in Cambridge stronger.’
There will be eight heats throughout the year, with each heat sponsored by a different brand. Results will go into a league table, and at the end of the year each bartender’s top three results from the heats will be averaged out to find the overall winner.
Brands will provide prizes for their particular heats, but will also put something into the prize for the overall winner, who will also win a gold cocktail bar kit.
The schedule of competitions and locations is as follows (some exact dates are still tbc):
23 February – Brewdog ‘Beat the Brewer’ competition at The Cambridge BrewHouse
22 March – Chase Gin G&T competition at the Cambridge Union Debating Society
26 April – Evan Willliams barrel-ageing competition at 12a
May – Buffalo Trace ‘migration’ competition at Novi
6 June – Chairman’s Reverse Rum create a Mai Tai competition at D’arrys
July – Black Cow Vodka competition at Jesus College
September – Luxardo competition at Doubletree Hilton Cambridge
October – final heat (brand TBC) at La Raza
Bartenders in the Cambridge area who are interested in competing can contact [email protected].