The World Class Cocktail Competition; where the cocktail elites of Hong Kong flock to try their luck as global mixologists, hoping to go on to compete for the regional title in Miami at the end of September.
The competitors, already having been whittled down from over 40 to a top 6, were asked to accompany a street food-inspired dish from one of Hong Kong's top restaurants with their own carefully concocted cocktail. The finalists were Alexander Ko of The Ocean, Ryan Nightingale of Ham & Sherry, Alexandre Chatte of Paradis, Toby Lo of Quinary, James Barker of 208 Duecento Otto, and Wallace Lau of Topiary.
Check out their creative mixes:
Ryan Nightingale of Ham & Sherry
Alexander Ko of The Ocean
Alexandre Chatte of Paradis
James Barker of 208 Duecento Otto
Wallace Lau of Topiary
Toby Lo of Quinary
While guests leisurely roamed the stalls, trying each carefully chosen pairing and chatting, the judges deliberated.
Each cocktail was the work of an expert, but which would reign supreme?
And the winner is...
James Barker of 208 Duecento Otto!
The finalists patted each other on the backs for their hard work.
James Barker’s winning cocktail is titled First & Formosa, a nod to its Taiwanese (formerly known as the Republic of Formosa) inspiration. The drink is composed of sweet oolong tea, salted ginger syrup, soda, fresh lime juice, and just a sprinkling of pickled ginger granite.
Twinned with Vicky Cheng of VEA’s Chinese ‘Bánh Mì’ (pig’s head, chicken liver mousse, whipped Iberico lardo, jalapeño, and Chinese fried dough), Barker's combination really was a food jam made in heaven.
“It’s such an honour to be representing this amazing city in the Diageo World Class global finals,” Barker said. “I couldn’t have got this far without the support of my talented staff at 208 Duecento Otto. Next stop Miami!”