Angostura brought the Carnival spirit to London when it held the European finals of the International Angostura Cocktail Challenge at UK RumFest 2010. German mixologist Wolfgang Mayer took the European crown, and will be in the grand finale scheduled to take place during T&T Carnival in March next year. According to Angostura's senior marketing manager, Brian Woods, "RumFest is now an integral part of the drinks calendar in Europe, and while it is held in London, it is a truly international event. "The interest from the visitors to the event in our cocktail challenge made it a memorable experience for all our competitors.
"It's not often that bartenders get to make drinks while being cheered on by several hundred knowledgeable people." The competition saw 12 finalists vying for the European title following months of regional and national competitions. Mixologists from several countries, including Spain, Italy, Russia, Germany, and the UK, created two cocktails, each judged on cocktail taste, appearance, aroma and overall presentation. Judges for the European final included 2008's winner Jamie Stephenson, Imbibe Bar & Spirits editor Alice Lascelles, and Angostura's manager�corporate communications, Giselle Laronde-West. Laronde-West announced the cocktail challenge winner at the Golden Barrel awards.
"The standard this year has been extremely high, so it was very difficult to choose a winner. Both of Wolfgang's cocktails, however, really were incredible, and the mix of ingredients worked perfectly. "His cocktail 'Seven Senses' stood out, though, due to its freshness, originality, balance, and aftertaste, whilst Wolfgang's presentation skills were professional, confident and creative," said Laronde-West. Mayer was delighted and surprised to win the European heat. "It is an incredible feeling to win, especially with the standard of competitors involved. It was great spending time with so many world-class bartenders from all over Europe, and to share cocktail ideas with them.
"To have won when the competition was so fierce is a great achievement for me," he said. As European winner, Mayer will now face winners from North America, South America, the Caribbean, Asia, Australia, Africa, T&T and India. The overall winner of the global competition will walk away with a cash prize of US$10,000, and a year-long contract as the global Angostura brand ambassador. When asked for his thoughts on the global final, Mayer played down his chances. "It will be a great experience to visit Trinidad & Tobago for the first time. Winning the overall final will be really tough but I will be preparing hard for the competition and will do my very best to make Europe proud. Most of all, I will relax and just try and enjoy the whole experience"