We didn’t win the hockey gold in Vancouver, but who cares… A trio of US bartenders stir up a winner at New Zealand’s annual 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup.
If you’re still nursing an Olympic-sized hangover because the US didn’t bring home Gold at the 2010 Olympic Games, here’s something to get your spirits up: This past weekend, a team of three US bartenders: Mark Stoddard, Todd Thrasher and Sean Hoard, emerged victorious in the sixth 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, held annually in Wellington, New Zealand. The grand final event capped off five days of intense competition, with 24 bartenders from seven countries competing in a series of challenges in Queenstown and Wellington. The field originally boasted more than two thousands bartenders from around the world. Finalists had quite the week. After arriving in Queenstown, they were given a true krazy Kiwi-style welcome, including being immediately thrown off a bridge above the Kawerau River for a 42-meter bungy jump. From there, they were treated to a traditional Maori welcome, a degustation dinner with matching cocktails, a rock star party, helicopter rides and a series of adrenalin pumping activities.
In the end, Team USA were crowned the best bartenders in the world, with their wordy cocktail titled ‘I have too much thyme on my hands right now at this point in my life,’ Made with 42BELOW Pure, apple bitters, lime thyme syrup and an artichoke aperitif. They won the 21st Century Punch challenge early in the competition, and were strong contenders throughout. “The drink was sorted from day one but the presentation came together in the last minute on the plane, it was phenomenal,” says Todd Thrasher. US bartender of the year and judge Jim Meehan commended the team for being both confident and humble, “their level of performance and presentation was amazing” Meehan said. Coming in a close second was Team France with ‘Le Rendez-Vous’ which they served alongside a dessert also created on stage. “France was a surprise, they had been lagging before tonight” said 42BELOW global vodka professor, Jacob Briars. In third place was homecourt favorites, Team New Zealand with ’42 Cuba St’. The team of Josh Crawford, Calem Chadwick and James Goggin displayed a never-before-seen technique of ‘flazing’ – using dry ice to aerate the drink instead of flames. Their cocktail contained 42BELOW Manuka Honey, chocolate and decanter bitters and a spray of gunpowder and over-proof rums. (Talk about getting your drink on–Kiwis, gotta love ‘em.)
The winners were chosen in a grand final event themed ‘Love, Drinks and Rock n Roll, Baby’ at Wellington’s old museum building. The sold out event featured the eight final teams including France, Italy, USA, Australia, UK, Ireland, London and New Zealand. They were joined on stage by rockers Midnight Youth.
Sponsored by New Zealand vodka purveyors 42BELOW, it’s been almost exactly ten years since the first bottle of 42BELOW was sold in Wellington. During that time, it’s gone from Founder Geoff Ross’s garage to being sold in over 20 countries and in some of the top bars and clubs around the world. The 42BELOW Cocktail World cup is it’s signature event and widely considered to be one of the best and most extreme bar tending competitions in the world. Congrats Team USA!
42BELOW COCKTAIL WORLD CUP 2010 WINNING RECIPE:
“I Have Too Much Thyme On My Hands Right Now At This Point In My Life”
30 mls (1 oz) 42BELOW vodka
15 mls (½ oz) aritchoke aperitif
45 mls (1 1/2 oz) lime thyme syrup
Liberal dash of apple bitters
Compressed apple thyme balls to garnish