Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
After having 10 International Bartender Challenges in 10 key markets across the world, the 10 champion bartenders were on the rock on Friday last at the Sunken Gardens, Hope Gardens, to showcase their skills for one night.
The night of shaking, muddling and mixing at the Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum International Bartender Showcase included bartenders from countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
François St Juste, the evening's host, got the attention of the many in attendance, who, along with specially invited guests and other major dignitaries from the various countries, had just been enjoying the Sunken Gardens, which had been transformed into an Appleton Mecca, with bar stations lining both sides of the venue.
Each station had been assigned to a specific country.
All 10 bartenders were introduced to the audience, and they shared a little bit of information about their country's culture.
In the midst of all the mixing, shaking and drinking, The Gleaner managed to talk to the Appleton Rum Brand Manager David Walton.
The three-year-long Appleton Showcase, he said, was an effort to "highlight the top bartenders and cocktails in the different Appleton countries worldwide".
"It's a showcase of the mixology and versatility of the Appleton brand," he added.
He further stated that for the Appleton brand, the bartending showcase is in an effort to "showcase that the Appleton rums are the most premium rums in the world".
"The flavour and taste profiles are so unique that they can be mixed with the most indigenous fruits from the countries across the world," he said.
Though the competition is a novel idea, the 'what next?' of it has stumped Appleton for a moment.
"We are trying to brainstorm because we are not sure how to move on from here. However, we are trying to figure out how to integrate and present the brand as a challenge or a showcase to the worldwide market," said Walton.
The countries that were included in the showcase were Australia, Canada, Grand Cayman, England, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and the United States of America.