Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cuban Bartender Wins Havana Club Grand Prix

Bartender Amaury Cepeda has been crowned winner of the 11th biannual Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix, held in Havana, Cuba.

     Amaury Cepeda of Taberba Yaybu Bar in his hometown of Santi Spiritus,Cuba, impressed the judging panel winning the two-day final with his cocktail “Cunyaya”; made with Havana Club 3 Year Old, Havana Club Essence of Cuba Island Fruit, honey, sour orange, and fresh sugar cane juice.   Thirteen finalists were tasked with creating “the next rum classic serve” by combining Cuba’s cocktail tradition, authenticity and local ingredients with their own personal experiences.  Cepeda’s winning cocktail was inspired by the traditions of the slaves brought to Cuba in 1515, and created after a five-day brand experience with seminars, workshops and masterclasses.   Of his win, Cepeda said: Of his win, Cepeda said: “Cuban cantineros must have all their senses in their cocktail; their heart, their soul and a profound respect towards bartending. I am very proud to have won the 11th Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix and I am very looking forward to starting my collaboration with Havana Club. Above all, I am excited about having the opportunity to continue to better myself!”    He will now undertake a global rum project with Havana Club, where he will have the freedom to create his own rum, write a book on the spirit or even launch his own rum pop-up. 
     Second place went to Veilandas Povilas, from Lithuania, one of the few women present in the competition, who showed great charisma and skills during the two-day contest   Manan Krause, from Germany, won the third place while the People´s Choice award went to Danish Kleist Terkel.
     Havana Club International and the Cuban Bartenders Association organized this event that is held every other year, and has won steadily a reputation as a hard to win competition.
     The judging panel featured mixologists from the World’s 50 Best Bars including Hidetsugo Ueno from Japan; Renato ‘Tato’ Giovannoni from Argentina; Alejandro BolĂ­var from Cuba; and Thanos Prunarus from Greece; along with cocktail and tiki expert Scotty Schuder; winner of the 2014 competition, Andy Loudon; and renowned spirits writer, Dave Broom.