The UKBG team set off for the Caribbean fortress of Puerto Rico and to the town of San Juan where the International Bartenders’ Association were holding their annual World Cocktail Competition.

Unfortunately, the home of the Pina Colada was not to see Jeremy Blackmore, the UK representative in the Classic section of the world finals. His passport was stolen the day before he was due to travel.

However, our team this year was 14 strong and included UKBG regional heat winners Claudio Antonino, Andy Pearson and Raffaello Dante as well as Tom Dyer, the UKBG representative in the Flair section.

The UKBG President Salvatore Calabrese flew in from Las Vegas to make the decision over who would represent the UKBG in Jeremy’s absence. He decided that Andy Pearson would deliver Jeremy’s recipe.

Meanwhile the one and only Tom Dyer started his bid for the Flair crown. This attempt ended with all of our hopes being dashed. After nailing every technical detail and move (he was the only one to do so in the competition), and after receiving a standing ovation from representatives from all the other countries, the session ended in disaster when a freak accident resulted in Tom knocking over his drink. He immediately remixed his cocktail but was judged to have time faults. While I, and hundreds of others, declared him to be the Best at the Show, he was to be deprived of the pleasure of appearing in the Final because the judges declared him out.

Could we suffer any more bad luck?

Andy Pearson, last year’s competitor in the Classic section, would once again carry our hopes. The effort put in by Andy was tremendous. He locked himself away in his room to perfect his technique and Jeremy’s recipe. Nino, Raffaello, Mickael and Luca were all tirelessly trying to get the right ingredients and equipment for the cocktail. Jim Slavin worked behind the scene trying to produce a memorable competition, Peter Dorelli along with his 3 cheerleaders Valerie, Kay and Sue shouted and cheered to give us an advantage, but it was not to be. The UKBG competitor would not make the finals this year.

The winner of the Classic section was Austria with the recipe below:

Golden Rico

2cl Matrioska Lux

1.5cl Amade ChocOrange

1cl Monin Vanille

4cl Caraibos orange juice

2cl cream

Method: Shaken

Glass: Martini.

Garnish: kumquat, lemon, pineapple leaves and cinnamon

The UK recipe was called Pocket Rocket.

4cl Grey Goose vodka

1.5cl Vedrenne liqueur de Poire

1.5cl Monin Elderflower

2cl lemon juice

1/2 fresh avocado

10 rocket leaves

Method: Muddle and shake

Glass: Coupette

Garnish: lemon, cucumber and rocket leaves

The winning countries for Flairtending were:

1) Uruguay

2) Russia

3) Sweden