Last Friday saw six final nominees for the Absolut Mixologist of the Year Award battle it out for the coveted Award under the Prestige Category. This took place, at the Zing Bar, Dusit d2 nairobi.
The short-listing of nominated establishments was conducted through the audited Taste the Best Workshop that included a selection of esteemed panelists.
This year’s challenge was designed to test the efficiency, skill and creativity in a high pressure context for each of the six contestants. Each finalist was required to make two cocktails; the first of their choosing. The second, and more exciting was a cocktail made from and inspired by our mystery box of ABSOLUT flavours including: Citron, Raspberri, Peppar and Mango along with Monin flavored syrups . Finalists were given 8 minutes to identify and create their unique cocktail using ONLY the ingredients presented.
Finalists included: Benu Kundra – Brew Bistro Bar & Lounge, Yeri Randu – Sankara Nairobi, Wilberforce Ochanda – Juniper Social, Luckman Oyebode – Caramel Restaurant & Lounge, Philip Gaza – Mercury Lounge at Urban Eatery and Dennis Olonyi- Dusit d2 nairobi
Judges for Taste Mixologist of the Year award comprised of a mix of Industry professionals who have the expertise in mixology and the spirits industry. Director at Garnish, Lauren Henderson, with 15 years of experience in the Wine & Spirits industry across the globe, Alex Kavita the Taste Awards 2013 Mixologist of the Year award winner brought his flare and prowess this time on the judging panel and Nelson Aseka, Prestige, PR and Brand Education Manager EA, at Pernod Ricard Kenya a connoisseur of luxury beverage brands.
Nelson Aseka believes that, “The trick to being a good bartender is in knowing what you are mixing. ABSOLUT Vodka offers a vast selection of flavors allowing bartenders to express themselves differently keeping in mind the customers preferences and personality. ABSOLUT Vodka associates with artistry in mixology, and this is just what we shall be looking for in our contestants during this challenge – flair and self-expression”
Alex Kavita, judge and winner of the 2013 accolade noted that this “is a momentous time for Kenyan mixologists to re-invent the scene, raise the bar and showcase the very best of their talent. We will be looking for that one finalist who standouts not just in their skill but also their personality and originality to be crowned the winner”.
The Taste Awards are graded in two categories: the Prestige Awards and the People’s Choice Awards. The Prestige Awards include the: Taste Excellence 2015 list of Nairobi’s top restaurants and bars as voted by a panel of food connoisseurs, beverage experts and personas of note. The Prestige Awards also recognizes the people behind the scenes.
Voting continues, send the word ‘VOTE’ to 0723 555 555 using WhatsApp or log onto taste.co.ke, voting ends on the 24thofAugust 2014. Winners will be announced by 31st August at a remarkable gala evening at the dusitD2 Hotel.