Ever wonder who the best bartender in Ireland is? Because you'll soon find out.
After a year of challenges, six finalists will compete in the last round of the prestigious World Class cocktail competition that's taking place in Zozimus on May 30.
The competitors will face seriously tough tasks while under the scrutiny of an expert panel, which will include John Torode of MasterChef.
The winner on the day will then be invited to represent Ireland at the Global Final of the competition in Mexico City this September.
Take a look at our fifth competitor whipping up a cocktail and find out what inspired him to go for the World Class crown...
Bartender: Aido Mulvaney
Bar: An Pucan, 11 Forster St, Galway
Cocktail: The Zacapa Kiss
10 ml house stout syrup
Garnish orange zest
Why should people come to An Pucan?
I believe An Púcán has a lot to offer people. We have a wide range, food, gins, whiskeys and an extensive cocktail menu. Our staff are very attentive and knowledgeable in their areas.
What’s the best thing about working behind the bar?
The best thing about working behind the bar is you're learning a skill, a trade, one that can be taken anywhere in the world. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet new people.
What’s trending in the bar scene right now?
I would have to say, education is trending now. What I mean by that is, customers know more, and expect more. Bartenders no longer just slinging pints and vodka Red Bulls. They're learning about spirits and ingredients and how to really balance cocktails. They visit more and more distilleries and do more training across the board.
Why should people see bartending as a profession?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a skill you can take all over the world. I believe the perception is starting to change for the better, where before people bartended as means to get by, maybe pay their way through college. Now, however, more and more people do it because they love it and want to make a profession out of it.
Who’s the coolest bartender in the world right now and why?
I’m not sure how cool he is! But right now I’d have to go with Kim Strode. I’m just loving his concept of sustainable drinking, deep diving but simple in delivery.
If you were a flavour, what flavour would you be and why?
I’d say I would be an orange. An orange is reliable all day, every day.
What is your favourite drink to mix and why?
I love to mix a whiskey Old Fashioned. It’s such an elegant drink to mix and offers so many different variations you can play around with.
Who would you most like to mix a drink for? And what would you make them?
Jamie Boudreau. When I first started bartending I would watch hours of his videos on YouTube; from how to stir, shake and garnish to how to smoke and fat wash a drink. I’d love to make him a cocktail and get his feedback, since some of my skills were born from watching him. I’d make him my World Class entry cocktail, a Roe & Co. Old Fashioned with smoked Meade. I’d love to give him an opportunity to experience the West of Ireland hospitality.
Zacapa just has a wonderful sweetness to it, along with some dark notes of coffee and chocolate. I love to sit down on a nice day and sip it with one ice cube. So for this challenge I just wanted to see could I make a cocktail with it by highlighting its natural beauty, as opposed to steering it in a different direction.
Why did you enter World Class?
World Class is the ultimate bartending competition, and to become the best you must learn from the best. The competition has made me really step up my game. It’s exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time.
It’s kind of hard to explain but I am loving it and learning more and more each day.