Hoot and Absent Ear bartenders are Mexico-bound

The winners and judges of Love Drinks' mezcal competition.

BARTENDERS from Edinburgh and Glasgow have won an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico after taking the top prize in a cocktail competition from Love Drinks.

Ellie Raeside from Hoot the Redeemer in Edinburgh and Zach Sapato of The Absent Ear in Glasgow triumphed in the company’s summer mezcal competition, which challenged competitors to create cocktails using either the El Recuerdo Joven mezcal, the Zignum Reposado, or both. Love Drinks distributes both brands in the UK.

Regional heats were held around the UK in July before the final earlier this week in Birmingham.

Ellie’s cocktail, The Magpie, contained Zignum Reposado, cacao and coconut milk-infused bourbon, sugar syrup and two drops of saline, while Zach’s drink, A Path to Flavour, combined El Recuerdo con Gusano with White Creme de Cacao, El Bandarra Blanco Vermouth, 30 Fernet-Vallet, a dash of cardamom bitters with a dusting of sal de chapulin (cricket salt).

The bartenders will be taken to Oaxaca, Mexico, to visit producer Casa Armando Guillermo Prieto, and learn first-hand about the production of the mezcals.

Samantha Burke, managing director of Love Drinks, said: “It’s honestly been a very long time since I have been involved with a better competition where the knowledge, skill and technique on show was off the scale. It’s a great sign for the industry and the mezcal movement as a whole.

“Right across the competition we have seen some astounding serves so a big thanks to everyone who was involved.

“It’s been an amazing way of showcasing the depth, versatility, variety and incredible sustainability credentials our El Recuerdo and Zignum brands offer.”