This February marks the 10th anniversary of the House of Angostura’s Global Cocktail Challenge.
This year, the renowned bitters brand welcomes nine of the most talented, diverse, and creative bartenders from across the globe to compete for the world title of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2020. The competition will take place during the greatest show on earth, Trinidad & Tobago Carnival.
After impressing judges in the regional heats, these nine finalists have been revealed:
Shana Rajahram, Trinidad & Tobago—LaCura and Better T’Maro cocktails.
Shana has been bartending since 2016 after starting work as a server and fighting for the chance at bar shifts. She already has two major wins under her belt, including 2018 Caribbean Bartender of the Year, and aims to be the best female mixologist in the western world.
Marv Cunningham, Aura Nightclub Atlantis Group, The Bahamas —Mas-Curried and AmaroBank Burst cocktails.
Marv has been bartending for over 20 years and is two-time winner of Taste of the Caribbean Best Caribbean Bartender award after defending his title in 2016 before returning to judge the competition in 2017. His specialty is culinary cocktails.
Chad Lawrence, Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada—Along The Banks and Jaguars Breath cocktails.
Barista turned bartender from Black Diamond in Alberta, Canada, Chad takes an incredibly geeky approach to flavor deconstruction to create cocktails that spark joy and transport you to a different place.
Gustavo Costa, Juiz de Fora, Brazil—Wings and Fancy Cat cocktails.
Gustavo is from Juiz de Fora, Brazil, a small town, which by his own admission has little cocktail culture to speak of; he’s looking to change all that though through his bar training and consultancy and prove that small cities can be just as good as great cocktail capitals. After developing his skills via books and YouTube, Gustavo has been bartending for over ten years and boasts an impressive home bar as well as a dashing Angostura Bitters tattoo.
Mike Jordhoy, Lulu White, Paris, France—Butterfly Swizzle and Doctor’s Orders cocktails.
Originally from Canada, via Texas and now found bringing the party to Paris. A sabbatical traveling across Europe inspired Mike to swap the corporate world and corner office for bartending. On returning to his native Canada, he started his apprenticeship as a barback at Vancouver’s Keefer Bar, before moving to Brix & Morter and is now bar manager at the New Orlean’s inspired haunt, Lulu White’s in Paris.
Rohan Massie, Rude Boy, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia—Doctor’s Orders and Hidden Perfection cocktails.
Rohan has over 15 years’ experience in hospitality working in every style of venue from cafes to 6-star resorts. Rohan currently runs and co-owns Rude Boy, a specialist rum bar in Hobart with his wife and business partner.
Simon Dacey, Trailer Happiness, London—Queen’s Park Hallows and Eye of the Hurricane cocktails.
Simon trained at European Bartender School Graduate and has been bartending for two years. This is not the first time Simon has represented his country, Simon represented team GB at fencing, but this time, he will be dazzling with his cocktails, not a sword. Simon is all about hospitality and looks to deconstruct classic cocktails and make them simpler and more delicious.
Vasile Dorofeev, Roberto’s, Dubai—Bolivars and Batida di Amaro cocktails.
After working his way up, one-time pot wash, waiter, and back bar, Vasile is now Group Beverage Manager at Skelmore Hospitality Group based at Roberto’s in Dubai. With over ten years experience in bars internationally, Vasile, originally from the Republic of Moldova, specializes in high volume cocktail bars and is a seasoned competitor with numerous regional competitions under his belt.
Agung Satria, BAM BAM, Vietnam—Liquid Salad and After 9 cocktails.
One-time motorcycling champion, Agung, is now mixing drinks at BAM BAM a tropical high volume cocktail bar in Vietnam. Agung has attended bartending school and classes by Japan’s renowned, Hidetsugu Ueno, but the person who has taught him the most about bartending is his father, back home in Thailand.
The beauty of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge is its level playing field because it doesn’t matter where bartenders are from, or which bar they work for; the only things that matter are skill, charm, knowledge, and work ethic to excel at representing Angostura internationally during some of the industry’s biggest cocktail get-togethers.
During the finals, each bartender is required to mix two drinks in seven minutes while entertaining the judges with their knowledge about cocktails, the category, and Angostura. They will also need to complete a rigorous interview—there is a job at stake, after all.
The winning bartender will receive the coveted title of “Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (AGCC) Champion,” a cash prize of $10,000USD and a two- year contract as the Angostura Global Brand Ambassador for ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters, ANGOSTURA orange bitters, Angostura Rums and Amaro di ANGOSTURA, as well as the opportunity to revisit Angostura’s home in Trinidad & Tobago to serve as a judge in the next AGCC Global finals.
“The one thing all of these finalists have in common is a real and urgent passion for their craft. For many, it is a calling, an incredible talent for mixing drinks, and a great way of telling stories and engaging an audience. I can’t wait to see all nine of these finalists in action here in Trinidad & Tobago and for them to experience one of the most incredible weeks on our beautiful islands.”
– Rahim Mohammed, Angostura’s Executive Manager Corporate Services & Marketing
Ahead of the competition, there will be lots of opportunities to deepen their knowledge of Angostura through distillery and museum tours and tutored tastings as well as to experience the island’s rich culture.
After the competition is over, win, lose or draw, all finalists get the opportunity to enjoy a full Carnival experience – starting with J’ouvert, otherwise known as dirty ‘mas. This represents the official start of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival and is a pre-dawn celebration, which involves revelers smearing paint, mud or oil on each other while dancing down the street in a J’ouvert band.
For more information about the competition, visit AngosturaGlobalCocktailChallenge.com.