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Finalists Announced In Hotly-Contested Curious Journey Cocktail Competition

By Dave Simpson

Four finalists have been selected in the Dalcassian Wines & Spirits hotly-contested Curious Journey Cocktail Competition.

Bartenders from across Ireland were invited to showcase their talents by creating an imaginative cocktail featuring one of the world-class spirit brands from the "curious mind" of PJ Rigney - Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka or Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. Contestants were also asked to share their own "curious journey" that led them to the drinks world, as well as the "curious story" behind their bespoke cocktail invention.

The finalists are Leah O'Connor of The Shelbourne Hotel, who created "The Cocoa Roski"; Peter Polak of Cask Bar Cork, who named his cocktail "Just to Clarify"; Valentin Veliz of The Ivy Dublin, who came up with "No Wrong Choice"; and Oisin Kelly of The Sidecar at The Westbury, who invented a cocktail called "Duality".

Phenomenal Response

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There was a phenomenal response to the competition, which attracted 45 entries from "super-premium" contestants representing leading venues across the country. Each bartender put huge time and tremendous energy into creating extraordinary, unique cocktails in a bid to impress the judging panel and win the once-in-a-lifetime "Curious Journey" title and spectacular prize.

Three-Part Experience Prize

The overall winner will win a money-can't-buy three-part experience prize that begins with a three-day mentor experience with The Shed Distillery team to learn about distillation and maturation. This will be followed by three days in London with industry guru Aaron Wall, who is the owner and operator of the renowned Homeboy venue. Finally, the overall winner will visit Bar Convent Berlin with the Dalcassian Wines & Spirits team, where they will showcase their winning serves at The Shed Distillery stand.

Gala Final

The final four are now preparing for the gala final, which will take place on July 22 in House Dublin. O'Connor, Polak, Veliz and Kelly will battle it out in front of the judging panel and a live audience of industry peers, and mix up a storm of inspired cocktails while displaying their "curious talents".

The pressure is on following the announcement that the curious mind himself, founder and owner of The Shed Distillery PJ Rigney, will be one of the judges on the night alongside Aaron Wall, who will be flying in from London especially for the event, and Dalcassian Wines & Spirits sales representative Jules Mahon.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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