1990s inspiration for Funkin Innovation Champion

Funkin Not A Cosmo

A cocktail described as “not a Cosmo” has helped a bartender to win a competition seeking new recipes inspired by the 1990s.

Alexandra Ulijaszek-Scott (pictured below) of Aqua Shard in London was named Funkin Innovation Champion 2019 after creating the drink which, like a Cosmopolitan, uses vodka as its base but the spirit has been aged in oak. She combined it with cognac cold distilled with Funkin Pro Green Apple Purée and Raspberry Purée and added Funkin Pro Hibiscus Syrup and white vermouth infused with rhubarb and pink peppercorn. See below for the recipe.

At the final in London last week, she presented the cocktail (pictured above), named Not A Cosmo, in a classic Funkin Martini glass, along with a second cocktail, the Backstreet Manhattan, which she came up with in a surprise second round where the bartenders were challenged to rummage in local charity shops and spend up to £10 on a complementary prop.

Alexandra’s prize includes a one-year, part-time contract with Funkin Cocktails worth up to £5,000, a trip to the Bar Convent Berlin trade show and £1,000 in cash.

To enter this year’s competition, bartenders were challenged by Funkin Cocktails with creating an original Funkin cocktail, taking inspiration from the 1990s, the decade when the cocktail ingredient company was launched.

Alexandra and five other up-and-coming bartenders from around the UK were picked for the final. The judges included: Stuart Bale, founder of London’s bartending lab, Crucible; Hamish Smith, editor of Class magazine; Shaun Hall, last year’s Funkin Innovation Champion 2018; and Sunny Radia, trade marketing manager for Funkin Cocktails.

Ben Anderson, marketing director for Funkin Cocktails, commented: “Alexandra totally nailed the brief and delivered a stand-out serve which really caught the attention of the judges. Her confident delivery, fun personality, creativity and knowledge of the Funkin Cocktails portfolio made her a worthy winner.”

After presenting their 1990s-inspired cocktails in the first round, the bartenders were given a two-hour bespoke immersive session led by Stuart and his Crucible colleague, Romeo de Wit, along with bartender Rosie Mitchell of London bar Three Sheets, using the lab’s range of cutting-edge equipment.

In the surprise second round, they were given only 10 minutes to find their prop in a local charity shop. The finalists came back with a mix of teapots, china cups, records, jewellery and even an ornate elephant. They were given free rein to use the ingredients and equipment housed within Crucible, with guidance from Stuart and his team.

Ulijaszek-Scott competed against Sam Wood of Jake’s Bar and Still Room in Leeds, Marcus Gordon of Siberia Bar & Hotel in Aberdeen, Adam Garton and Scott D’Agostino of Paramount in Aberdeen, and Kieran Harrison of Dr Ink’s Curiosities in Exeter.

Not A Cosmo
40ml Hennessy cognac, cold distilled with Funkin Pro Green Apple Purée and Raspberry Purée
15ml Oak-aged Aurora Crystal Head vodka
25ml Rhubarb and pink peppercorn-infused Belsazar White vermouth
7ml Funkin Pro Hibiscus Syrup
3 dashes Curaçao bitters
Garnish: Orange penny
Stir ingredients and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with an orange penny.

Backstreet Manhattan
40ml Rye whiskey
20ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
30ml Funkin Pro Morello Cherry Purée
10ml Funkin Pro Hibiscus Syrup
3 dashes Absinthe
3 dashes Saline solution
1 Grapefruit peel
Garnish: 3 cherries
Shake all ingredients including the grapefruit peel. Double-strain into a coupette. Garnish with three cherries.

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