THE grand finals of the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum Bartender Challenge — Jamaica 2012 was held on last Friday at the Knutsford Court Hotel.
At this event, five finalists from across the island competed for the honour of representing Jamaica in the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum International Bartender Challenge, which will be held this October in Kingston.
Cecil Smith, marketing manager for Rums at J Wray & Nephew Limited stated that the Challenge Jamaica 2012 was "a wonderful opportunity to showcase the art and science of bartending and to further develop the skills of our local bartenders. It also is the perfect platform to demonstrate the versatility of the range of premium aged rums and to promote the use of fresh Jamaican ingredients in cocktails".
The winner of the Challenge was Ryan Mitto, who represented the Kingston region with his winning cocktails the 'Appleton 6:30' and the 'Neighbourhood Watch'.
The other finalists were Sherica Morgan, bartender, OMG Restaurant and Bar, who represented Mandeville, and John Samuels of Grand Palladium, who represented the Negril region. Cleverton Little of Pier One, competed for Montego Bay, while Gregory Shaw of Gran Bahia Principe, who won the Ocho Rios heat, represented that region.
After his victory, Mitto said "I want to raise the bar for bartending in Jamaica. A lot of other countries are far ahead of us with this skill. Today, I brought a sample of one of my cocktails and I plan on continuing to experiment with different tastes and textures in preparation for the international challenge."
Mitto will go on to represent Jamaica in International Challenge, which will see nine bartenders representing key markets around the world competing for the coveted title of International Champion.
In addition to Jamaica, bartenders from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, the Cayman Islands will be participating in the International Challenge.
Bartenders from these markets will also have to compete in a local challenge held in their market to earn the honour of representing their country in Jamaica.