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Malta represented at Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix 8/13/2012

Adrian Caruana from Hugo’s Lounge, Malta’s representative in the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix 2012 during the competition.

The Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious cocktail competitions in the world, held every two years in the city of Havana, Cuba. It is every bartender’s dream to take part in this major competition organized by Havana Club, the authentic Cuban rum.

Adrian Caruana, from Hugo’s Lounge, recently represented Malta in this year’s edition of the Grand Prix. He was one of 40 cantineros – the Cuban name for bartenders – from 38 countries vying for the cherished Grand Prix. The focus of the competition was on the participants’ communication skills, knowledge, mixing techniques as well as the quality and originality of their drinks; the emphasis was on two important values of the bartender’s job, those of hosting and of serving. “The level of the competition was extremely high,” says Adrian, “with some of the bartenders coming from the top cocktail bars in the world.”

Each competitor had to present two cocktails of his own creation, giving an original twist on classic Cuban cocktails. A panel of three judges sat with each competitor as he or she prepared their cocktails, discussing the cocktail and presentation while evaluating the performance.

“The judges were all highly-respected people in the rum trade and I really enjoyed preparing my cocktails in front of them, though I have to admit it was quite unnerving!” commented Adrian. “Apart from the excitement of the cocktail competition itself, though, it was fantastic to be in Havana and visit bars I had heard so much about. Seeing a perfect mojito prepared at the legendary La Bodeguita del Medio or enjoying an excellent daiquiri at Floridita, both prepared with the Havana Club 3 Años, showed how much this exceptional rum is part of the bar life in Cuba.”

The Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix 2012 was won by Frenchman Julien Escot who runs his own bar Papa Doble in Montpellier, which featured in Drinks International 2011 World’s 50 Best Bars. “I think Julien truly deserved to win; his cocktail creations were very well balanced and beautifully prepared and his easy-going positive attitude made him very popular with all the bartenders present. Being at this Grand Prix has been a tremendous experience for me and I am very grateful to Havana Club and to FBIC in Malta for making it happen.”

Adrian also thanked Hugo Chetcuti for the trust he placed in him over the last 12 years, “Hugo was instrumental in making cocktails popular again with the Maltese and I am looking forward to applying my new knowledge in my services at Hugo’s.”

Havana Club rums are represented in Malta by Farsons Beverage Imports Company Limited, a member of the Farsons Group.