Two UK Bartending Superstars Win Colombia Lifetime Experience

Walter Pintus of The Ritz, LaHechiceraWinner2

Alex Lawrence from Orchid bar in Aberdeen and Walter Pintus from The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London have been selected from over 60 entrants to win one of the most intrepid prizes in cocktailing history. As the two winners of La Hechicera Rum’s #WanderlustColombia challenge, they will go to live and work in the vibrant and exotic capital of Colombia for a full month, later this year.
They will fly to the capital Bogota, and also travel to Cartagena the fashionable Caribbean city. A bespoke programme hosted by the Riascos family will immerse them in the bar-life of both cities’ most prestigious bars. Accommodation and salary will be paid during the month. The visit will also include blending their own rum with the Maestro Ronero (master blender) of La Hechicera.

The hotly contested grand final took place with 15 competing finalists at MASH in London on 7 April 2014, cheered on by their peers. Co-founder Miguel Riascos arrived from Colombia to judge the final and commented, “We were very excited to host such a range of finalists, from popular bars through to 5-star hotel bars. All showed inspired and creative originality, and many were keen to challenge convention. Our judging panel was treated with
unexpected flavour combinations, adventurous mixing with exotic rare fresh ingredients and the results of refined techniques such as dry-smoking. At the end of the day, the winning cocktails were judged on taste.”

Winner 1 – Alex Lawrence, Orchid bar in Aberdeen

Lady Colombia

60ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Martini Extra Dry
5 ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur
5 ml maple syrup
2 dashes house blend bitter, pinch of sea salt

Stir over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with lemon zest.

Winner 2 – Walter Pintus. The Rivoli Bar. The Ritz London

The Rum Baroness

50ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Tintilla De Rota fortified wine
10ml maple syrup blended with Tahitian vanilla beans and
Egyptian chamomile blossoms, house-made cocoa bitters
3 drops of cocoa oil

Stir over ice and strain into a large stemless wine glass.
Garnish with fresh caviar lime and serve with chocolate truffles

La Hechicera Tasting Notes

La Hechicera

Everyone loves something new, especially one that gives off a lot of vibes when it first arrives on our shores. Recently, a Columbian rum did just that in the form of La Hechicera. But why the fan-fare? Well lets take a look –

Pronounced ‘etch-ee-seh-rah’ and meaning ‘enchantress’ in Spanish, the rum comes straight from the Colombian Caribbean. A blend of matured rums, aged between 12 and 21 years in American white oak casks. A great surface tale, but an even greater adventure once you dive right in.

The raw sugar cane distillates are cherry-picked from the sugar cane havens in South America and the Caribbean, then blossom in the tropical microclimate of Barranquilla, Colombia. Their Maestros Roneros (master rum-maker), Giraldo Mituoka, actually started his career harvesting sugar cane during the Cuban Revolution. An apparent set of random and unpredicted occurrences delivered Mituoka to the shores of Colombia where he has been perfecting his craft, skills and rum tradition to help create La Hechicera.

The family behind La Hechicera are named the Riascos. They’ve been creating rums in Colombia for over two decades and travel around the Caribbean sourcing the raw spirits, finding the casks and of course attracting Giraldo Mintuoka.

La Hachicera is a naturally ‘unpolished’ rum meaning it retains the genuine qualities of the noble wood it breathes. There are no additives or sugar, with its smoothness having been mellowing for decades.

So how does this ‘unpolished’ rum fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

La HechiceraLa Hechicera – 40%

A rich yet smooth aroma of wood and a hint of chocolate on the nose, leading to a smooth start on the palate. Develops into a mellow, then spicy offering with cinnamon and the chocolate lingering for a while.

A fantastic sipping rum, but one that has all the versatility of being involved in a cocktail –

Coriander, Basil and Ginger Daiquiri

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml La Hechicera
20 ml lime juice
20 ml sugar syrup
Handful of basil
Muddled fresh ginger

Method – 

Shake all ingredients over ice, double strain into a chilled Martini glass.

A great addition to any collection at home, or indeed a night out. I’d recommend having neat first to really truly savour this rum, before playing around with other ingredients and creating something great!

You can purchase a bottle of La Hechicera here. Check out more photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.