The battle to determine the best bartender in Ireland will take place in Zozimus this May 30.
The World Class cocktail competition, which is dedicated to finding the best bartending talent, is about to hold its finals after a year-long elimination process.
Now six finalists remain, who will go head to head in front of a panel of expert judges — including John Torode of MasterChef — to win the title of World Class Irish Bartender of the Year 2017.
The winner will jet off to Mexico City in September to represent Ireland in the Global Final.
Let's watch our sixth competitor perform a cocktail challenge and learn why he decided to participate in the contest...
Bartender: Andy Ferreira
Bar: Cask, 48 McCurtain St., Cork
Cocktail: Hunter’s Flip
Spirit: Roe & Co.
30 mls Roe & Co. (Washed with boar fat)
20 mls Cask curacao
10 mls Tawny Port
1 whole quail egg
Why should people come to Cask?
Come for the design and architecture, stay for our signature service, drinks, food and music. Cask has a high-end feel, but without all the pretence associated with snazzy bars.
We've an amazing team — people who have worked in Michelin star restaurants and have competed in global cocktail competitions. But most importantly, our staff are genuine and don't take themselves too seriously.
What’s the best thing about working behind the bar?
Creating fun for people and opening their minds and palates. I love watching their reactions as they have their first taste of something completely new.
What’s trending in the bar scene right now?
I don't really follow trends but personally, I’m getting quite excited by simplicity again. A few years ago I may have been tempted to always look for that extra little element of flavour or complexity. These days I’m content to let the base spirits shine through and not be clouded. Take your cocktail elements for a stroll in the park, not a game of pinball.
Why should people see bartending as a profession?
Why not? You pay your mortgage, send your kids to school, try and improve. It's not an easy job but many aren't. What I love about bartending is it gives you the opportunity to be yourself. My staff don't wear uniforms. I don't want robots. I want individuals with personalities. I love how hospitality has always embraced the loopers and the eccentrics. We're like drinks artists who get paid weekly. There is huge opportunity to travel and make a good living also.
Who’s the coolest bartender in the world right now and why?
Stu Bale. Has no interest in rules and combines science and creativity with a touch of humour seamlessly.
If you were a flavour, what flavour would you be and why?
Vanilla. Multi-faceted. Found in a huge variety of liquid. I could stealthily swim in everything from wine to rum and go unnoticed.
What is your favourite drink to mix and why?
Bloody Mary. Freedom to express across a broad spectrum. Lovage! Just saying.
Who would you most like to mix a drink for? And what would you make them?
Michael D. Higgins. He's an absolute legend! I'd make him a nice Roe & Co. cocktail using some West of Ireland seaweed stirred down with some Cocchi Americano. Dillisk works wonderfully, then some smoked wakame and finish it with a little grapefruit zest.
Why Roe & Co.?
I love Irish whiskey. It's so representative of us as a nation — diverse, complex, honest. Plus a good old rise from the ashes story!
Why did you enter World Class?
To challenge myself against the best. The bar I manage and my own consultancy company 'Raise the Bar' is at an exciting point. World Class offers huge opportunity to get your name out there.
But first, you need to win and represent your country. Nobody remembers the runner up.