The Tio Pepe Challenge invites bartenders to create a Sherry cocktail – and now you can taste the results.
If you’re a tapas fan you’ve probably already tried Tio Pepe, the crisp Fino sherry, and you know how great it is for pairing with food. But did you know that it can also be mixed in delicious cocktails?
The Tio Pepe Challenge is a cocktail competition that invites bartenders in 14 countries to show off their sherry knowledge and creativity
The Tio Pepe Challenge is a cocktail competition that invites bartenders in 14 countries to show off their sherry knowledge and creativity. Competitors prove their skill in a blind Sherry tasting, before demonstrating true Spanish style with the venencia – the tool that’s used to take sherry from a barrel and pour it, from a height and with flair, accurately into a glass. Last but not least, they must create their own original Tio Pepe cocktail.
Held this spring, the UK competition attracted entries from top bartenders across the country. Just 11 were selected to battle it out in the final, where cocktail experts Walter Pintus, Stuart Hudson and Boris Ivan judged their efforts.
The UK finalists were: Dario Arranz from Oblix, Chris Calvert from The Aviator bar at Hush, Eleanor Holcroft of SACK Bar, Sebastian Kasyna of The Ivy City Garden, Sam Midgley from Bar 44, Gábor Molnár of Quaglino’s, Cameron Moncaster from Waeska at the Mandrake Hotel, Gianluca Pavanello of Swift, Flavio Prospero from Galvin at Windows, Christian Teducci from China Tang and Karel Varga of Mr Fogg’s Residence.
This year’s competition was of an extremely high standard and it was very difficult to choose a winner as all the participants demonstrated their passion for Tio Pepe
“This year’s competition was of an extremely high standard and it was very difficult to choose a winner as all the participants demonstrated their passion for Tio Pepe. However, Cameron Moncaster’s knowledge, his venencia technique and exceptional cocktail presentation made him stand out as the UK winner,” says Ivan.
Talking about the inspiration behind his winning cocktail, Moncaster said: “My cocktail pays homage to the three towns that make up the Sherry Triangle: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, El Puerto de Santa María and Jerez de la Frontera,’ says Cameron Moncaster. ‘It explores the differences in climate, terroir, history and of course, culture, which help to diversify the character of sherry wines. Take a sip and you will be immersed in the smell, sound, sight, feel and, of course, taste of Jerez.”
Moncaster went on to represent the UK in the International Grand Final in Jerez, which took place during the world-famous Feria de Jerez. Moncaster competed against other finalists from countries including Australia, the USA, Chile and China. The International Winner this year was Eduardo Nava from Limantour Bar in Mexico City. However, Moncaster put in a great performance and finished in the top four.
If you’d like to try a Tio Pepe cocktail, visit one of the bars below between 14 May and 10 June. Or why not try making one at home yourself?
Waeska at the Mandrake Hotel
Sea, Spice, Citrus & Soil
Glass: Small wine glass
Garnish: Fresh mint
Method: Place all of the ingredients except the water in a shaker and throw five times to mix and aerate the cocktail. Strain over block ice in small wine glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with fresh mint in a small venencia and zest with blood orange.
50ml Tio Pepe Fino En Rama 2017
30ml Blood Orange Sherbet
Sparkling water to top
Garnish: Sprig of rosemary and grated nutmeg
Method: First dry shakes all ingredients together without ice, then add ice and shake again. Double strain into a chilled coupette.
70 ml Tio Pepe
20 ml Spiced rum
15 ml Cinnamon syrup
10 ml Irish Cream liqueur
3 dashes Christmas Bitters
The Aviator Bar at Hush
300 Days of Summer
Glass: Crystal wine glass
Garnish: Lemon peel
Method: Wash the glass with absinthe. Put all of the ingredients in a shaker and throw to mix.
75ml Tio Pepe
15ml DOM Bénédictine
Galvin at Windows
Garnish: Dehydrated seaweed
Method: Muddle the celery stalk with the grapefruit juice, add the remaining ingredients and shake well. Double strain into the glass and garnish.
50ml Tio Pepe
20ml The London No.1 Gin
30ml fresh grapefruit juice
15ml lemon syrup
1 stalk of celery
To learn more about Tio Pepe, visit tiopepe.co.uk