Havana Club is inviting bartenders to take part in the finals of the 11th biennial Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix, one of the world’s longest running (1st edition in 1996) and largest cocktail-making challenges in the world! 45 bartenders will represent their country in Havana where they will have the honour of testing their talents against top mixologists from 43 markets.
Like the country’s iconic cocktails, Cuba’s identity is the result of a fusion of influences that have come from as far as Spain, Africa and China. Drawing from this multicultural spirit, this year’s Grand Prix’s theme is Havana Fusion: contestants are challenged to create the next classic serve by demonstrating the fusion of a Cuban classic with elements of classic drinks that are popular in their own individual unique culture.
Cuba has always been a pioneer in the cocktail world, the evidence being the foundation in 1924 of the Asociación de Cantineros de Cuba, first ever bartender’s association to be created worldwide.
The ACC has been a strong supporter of both Havana Club and the Cocktail Grand Prix for more than 2 decades and remains a major partner on the island. On top of the cocktail competition, the ACC works hand in hand with the brand to train bartenders all around the world with a Masterclass program: between 2000 and 3000 bartenders are trained every year on all continents. On Wednesday June 1st, the guests of the Grand Prix will be lucky enough to attend a whole evening organized by the ACC.
Druing the global finals, held in Havana from 30th May – 4th June, regional champions will benefit from exclusive Cuban rum and cocktail education delivered by a team of globally renowned mixologists during two days of intensive workshops and masterclasses.
Before the intense competition begins, competitors will be invited to the Havana Club distillery where renowned Maestro del Ron Cubano Asbel Morales will explain the importance of Havana Club Añejo 7 Años as the one that led the way to all the extra aged rums with the continuous aging. Being able to taste and learn about one of Havana Club’s lead expressions will certainly provide further inspiration to the bartenders!
Curating this year’s global event in Havana will be award-winning drink historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, authors of over 36 titles including Cuban Cocktails, and the competition will be judged by an exclusive panel of mixologists from the World’s 50 Best Bars.
Sergio Valdès, Export and Development Director of Havana Club, comments: “We’re all looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s best bartenders to Cuba for the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix and support them in creating new cocktails that can compete with the Cuban classics that are still so popular today. As one of the most sought-after competitions in the on-trade, the event gathers international talent who flock to Havana to learn from Cuba’s culture and cocktail history, so we can’t wait to see what participants will come up with this year.”
The Cocktail Grand Prix champion will have the privilege to come back home with a bottle of Havana Club Maximo, “the essence of Cuban Rum” says Maestro del Ron Cubano Don José Navarro. And as a first this year, Havana Club will allocate a specific 20 K€ budget to assist the winner with an individual project, linked to the brand and in-line with their ambitions, such as writing a book on rum or creating their own rum bar. Following in the footsteps of 2014 winner Andy Loudon, the winner will also be returning as a judge at the next global final in 2018. As part of his two-year collaboration with the brand, Loudon has travelled with Havana Club to some of the world’s top trade shows including Berlin Bar Convent and London Rum Fest and had his winning cocktail served in bars across Havana and the UK. Let’s wish the next winner the same successful path!