David Delaney, Jr. Wins Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge

By Yolanda Evans

To win a competition like this with such an amazing product is absolutely fantastic.

Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago wasn’t the only excitement happening on the picturesque island as Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge finals kicked off to crown a winner. After going around and culling hundreds of competitors from around the world, fifteen talented mixologists from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Barbados, South Africa, Russia, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, Spain, India, China, the United Kingdom and the United States were selected to vie for the title, $10,000 dollars, as well as an impressive gig of being Angostura’s global ambassador for a year.

Stepping behind the bar in front of a panel of esteemed judges — famed mixolgist Tony Abou-Ganim; Eric Forget of Hines Cognac; Vidia Doodnath, Executive Director, Technical Operations of the Angostura Group of Companies; Jacob Briars of LeBlonCachaças and 2011 Angostura Global Cocktail winner Andy Griffiths — each competitor was given just seven minutes to prepare two original cocktails — one with Angostura aromatic bitters and rum, and another with Angostura aromatic bitters and the liquor of their choice — to be judged in multiple categories, including taste, creativity and presentation.

Wielding their rum and bitter-based libations, the bartenders let loose in a frenzy of jiggering, shaking and of course, stirring, in a battle in which there could only be one who would be crown “world’s best bartender.” And after a six-hour competition, which was deemed a tight race by the judges, David Delaney Jr. of the Niche Hospitality Group in Worcester, MA, came out as top dog with his winning cocktails Five Island Fizz and On Second Thought. Rikki Carter of New Zealand and Jamaal Bowen of Barbados rounded out second and third place. Carter ‘s Johann’s Bittered Sling made with Angostura 1919 rum, Suze, Angostura aromatic bitters, Licor 43, lime juice, limonatta won the prize for the best rum cocktail.

Not only was Delaney Jr. the overall winner, but he also took home the prize in the freestyle category for his cocktail On Second Thought, a drink inspired by his entry from last year’s competition. When ask about his thoughts about the contest, Delaney Jr. had this to say:

“Words can’t explain how I feel. It was amazing to see the others craft. I was backstage pacing back and forth. To win a competition like this with such an amazing product is absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I can’t wait to start.”