The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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Page 58 of 119

{ }  59 "We are working to give back to the bartenders, to thank them for what they are doing with this brand all over the world," explains Nino Cuberlo, Area Sales Manager and part-owner of Diplomático. "Bartenders have responded really, really well to this rum, and their creativity in the cocktails they're serving deserves to be recognized and rewarded." With the hope of putting bartenders in the spotlight, Diplomático launched an online competition this summer, with live regional semi-finals taking place across the U.S. this fall. Next month, each regional U.S. winner will shake off for the NYC finals, where a U.S. champion will be crowned before heading to Venezuela in April to go toe-to-toe with the best in the world. With a $10,000 prize on the line for the overall winner, nerves were palpable when The SOMM Journal stopped by the Los Angeles regional semi-finals last month. But there was more than money on the line: "At the end of the day, for all of these bartenders from all over the world, it's about pride in their skill. It's about representing themselves and their craft as best they can, and that's very much in line with what we do at Diplomático," said Cuberlo. As the L.A. semifinals kicked off at La Descarga, a Hollywood rum-and-cigar speakeasy, the 12 finalists were a mix of nerves and excitement. After drawing her spot to go last, Christine Wiseman, who's behind the stick at the host bar, explained the root of her jitters: "Everyone here is just so darn good!" Between super-talented bartenders and a premium base spirit like Diplomático to play with, the competition was fierce, and the judges had a tough task at hand in selecting a regional winner. Ultimately the nod went to Nick Meyer, who played up to Diplomático's tropical nuances in his Chimpin' Ain't Easy cocktail, topped with a classic fizzy soda-fountain banana phosphate. "The banana notes in Diplomático are amazing, and I wanted to take that to the next level with this drink," said Meyer, who works at Brilliantshine in Santa Monica, CA. Meyer will join the NYC regional winner, Roberto Rosa, who works at The Plaza and Eastside Cantina; Boston winner Sam Treadway, twice voted the city's best bartender, who works at popular cocktail bar Backbar; and Alex Renshaw, Beverage Director at Drumbar in Chicago. A yet-to-be-named Miami winner will round out the pack for the U.S. finals. CHIMPIN' AIN'T EASY by Nick Meyer 1 1 /2 oz. Diplomático Añejo Rum 1 /2 oz. Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum 3 /4 oz. housemade Macadamia nut–piloncillo syrup 3 /4 oz. fresh lime juice Shake with ice, the add 2 oz. housemade banana phosphate. Strain into Collins glass wrapped in a banana leaf. Top with crushed ice. Nick Meyer will advance to the U.S. finals of the Diplomático World Tournament in New York next month. His cocktail, Chimpin' Ain't Easy, highlighted tropical and spice notes in the rums. Judging the L.A. semi-finals were (left to right): Phil Wills, owner of Spirits in Motion; SOMM Journal Editorial Director Meridith May; and consultant and bartender Joe Brooke.

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