Superstar bartender Ray Letoa of New Zealand has won the Grand Finals of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2018. Second Place went to Johnny Mansoor of Lebanon and Third Place to Maximiliano Vallée Valletta of Canada.
According to Head Judge Mike Ryan, the top three were separated by the smallest of margins. Mr. Letoa won because his cocktails best “captured the vibrancy and exuberance of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and of the House of Angostura” he says.
Mr. Letoa was up against 10 other top bartenders from around the world in a fierce competition which saw the contenders create spectacular cocktails using world-famous Angostura aromatic bitters, Angostura orange bitters, Angostura Rums and Amaro di Angostura.
Challenged to make two cocktails in just seven minutes, Mr. Letoa made an Amaro Cocktail using Amaro di Angostura called “Deliciousness” and a Rum Cocktail, using Angostura 1824 and two dashes each of Angostura aromatic bitters and Angostura orange bitters, which he called “Old Flame.”
In addition to the title of Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Champion, Mr. Letoa takes home US$10,000 and a two-year contract as Angostura’s Global Brand Ambassador, representing Angostura aromatic bitters, Angostura orange bitters, Angostura Rums and Amaro di Angostura.
“Now I’m looking forward to meeting people and telling them about the ethos and the passion of the people that make Angostura’s rums and bitters,” says Mr. Letoa, adding that of all the cocktail competitions he has entered the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge was “the toughest.”
Two other trophies were awarded: Best Amaro Cocktail, to Pedro Martinez of France, representing the European Union, and Best Rum Cocktail, to Johnny Mansoor of Lebanon, representing the Middle East and African Region.
According to Angostura: “The proud history of the House of Angostura began almost 200 years ago in 1824 when founder Dr. Johann Siegert first produced aromatic bitters in the city of Angostura in Venezuela. Recognised over the centuries by the granting of Royal Warrants of Appointment to the royal households of Great Britain, Prussia, Spain and Sweden, Angostura aromatic bitters and Angostura orange bitters are the world’s market leader, an integral ingredient in premium cocktails, and a mainstay of cocktail culture.
Angostura’s international range of rums, produced at the only rum distillery in Trinidad, includes five distinctive, exquisitely blended rums: Angostura 1824, Angostura 1919, Angostura 7 Year Old, Angostura 5 Year Old and Angostura Reserva, all blended by masters with years of experience and training in original traditions, using closely guarded formulas and techniques.
The newest product in our portfolio, the multiple award-winning Amaro di Angostura, leverages our unsurpassed heritage as a blender of the finest bitters and rums.”
“The first Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (AGCC) took place in April 2001 at the Robinson Crusoe Pub at the Hilton Tobago. In 2011, the decision was taken to hold the Competition during Trinidad Carnival—the Greatest Show on Earth! The 2017/18 Competition will be the ninth(9th) edition of what has become a key event on the International Mixology Calendar.”