This is a pity, because except of a few hick ups it was a really good experience [at least from my side - I guess the participants are hating me know].
We held the competition in Rush bar - in my hotel - the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. Truth has to be told - the recipes were everything but promising. But there were a few, which could convince [at least in one category]. Of roughly 20 drinks, there was one, which was really attractive [again, most competitors neglected the garnish- which is classically in a competition quite important]. There was another one, which really stood out and kinda impressed with a clear spirit driven character [funny thing was, that the drink had a hideous garnish - blue sugar rim and a sad maraschino cherry] - despite of its quite confused recipe of Scotch, Midori, amaretto, lemon juice [plus one more liqueur] it tasted like a Godfather [not even got wrong]. To be honest, I would directly do the simple Godfather recipe... but it was worth the effort.
Further two drinks impressed us with its presentation / appearance . One with a "floor" of lemon grass stalks, which was repeated on the glass - the other was feminine pink with some loose lemon grass wrapped around [this was actually the prettiest cocktail].
As I was in the blind tasting jury with Sasha, even at the end, I was not sure, which drink was done by whom - I am sure, that you can find out on the Dubai Bartender Club facebook group page.
Overall - again - the drinks were not balanced and far too sweet. Except of one [out of 20] they were also not spirit driven, had a questionable character, were confusing.
For pictures, please head over to the opinionated-alchemist fan page.
After the main event, the best 5 had to do a classic drink. Sasha and me were finally relieved from our cave and sat directly in front of the contestants.
And? I guess they will wake up in the night, sweat-wet and will need to go a couple of years weekly to a psychologist. As I asked them for every single drink about the reason why they decided on the details and corrected them- off course, after they did the drink.
At least I believe, that everyone really learned a lot. But yeah - some will hate me for that.
Just get over to the Dubai bartender club group page to get the results and for further pictures.
Anyway- one good note - I tasted for the first time the Marie Brizard Royal Chocolate Liqueur. And it is really good. I achieved a very similar taste within 3 month of doctoring; infusing cocoa nibs in vodka, with cinnamon, vanilla and emulsifying real chocolate also into the infusion. Straining was messy and the yield was everything but great.
This product is very similar [maybe it has a bit less alcohol], without the pain! Well done Marie Brizard. Now we just have to find better recipes for those competitions...