Mark Main of MOJO in Manchester has been named the overall winner in this year’s Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge. The Glaswegian mixologist took home £1,000 and after his El Coco Bru and Peanut Butter Jelly Time cocktails impressed the judges.
The hard-fought contest, compered by Lyndon Higginson at The Liar’s Club in Manchester and organised by Coco Lopez’s UK distributor Bennett Opie and El Dorado Rum in association with Hamilton Beach, also saw runner-up Ami St. Claire of Sohe in Newcastle win a bottle of 21 year-old El Dorado rum. Colette Abel of Be At One in Cardiff won a Hamilton Beach Fury blender for her Threena Colager, judged to be the best twisted piña colada in the competition.
Host and judge James Coston, from Bennett Opie, said: “Mark brought his A-game on the day; the Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge is judged on the humour and imagination of the presentation as well as the drinks themselves, and he had us all in stitches.
“His El Coco Bru twisted piña colada was topped with Irn Bru – and served in the can – in tribute to his Scottish heritage, and his Peanut Butter Jelly Time cocktail was actually two drinks in one, presented as a throwback to his school packed lunches complete with crisps, a chocolate bar and a tangerine!”
Sam Fish from El Dorado Rums said: “The finalists this year were all brilliant; the sheer creativity of their drinks and presentation makes this competition the most exciting and fun one to judge. The piña colada is one of the most difficult cocktails to master and we tasted some excellent ones on the day; it was great to see so many modern twists on a classic drink.”
As well as Sam Fish from El Dorado and James Coston from Bennett Opie, the judging panel also included the 2014 Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge Champion, Marco Piroli.
The ten finalists had each submitted two drinks to the competition. One had to be a twisted piña colada containing Coco Lopez and either three-year-old or five-year-old El Dorado Rum, and had to be blended with a Hamilton Beach blender. The other was a cocktail of their choice, though it had to contain at least 20ml Coco Lopez and three or five-year-old El Dorado Rum.
The winning recipes:
Mark Main’s El Coco Bru
Ingredients: 50ml El Dorado 3 year old rum, 50ml Coco Lopez, 12.5ml Monin Blue Curacao liqueur, 12.5ml lime juice, 2 pineapple chunks
Method: Blend ingredients and top with Irn Bru, then serve in an Irn Bru can.
Mark Main’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time
37.5 El Dorado 5 year old rum, 37.5ml Coco Lopez,12.5ml lime juice, 25ml half and half, 3 bar spoons of peanut butter
37.5ml El Dorado 3 year old rum, 12.5ml lime juice, 3 bar spoons of strawberry jam, Pinch of salt, Splash of Opies cherry juice
Method: Blend both drinks separately and serve in a lunch box with everything your mum used to put in; i.e. 3 chocolate bars, a bag of crisps and a tangerine.