The Costa Rican Fernando Rodríguez became the only Latin American to win recognition in the most prestigious international bartender and mixology competition: the World Class Competition. 55 bartenders from all over the world attended the event. And the grand prize went to Canadian James Grant. Rodríguez, a resident of Tamarindo in Guanacaste, won the award for “Best cocktail with Johnnie Walker”, which was inspired by Costa Rica.
It is a drink that this specialist prepared based on:
• Soda water
• Lemon essence
• Organic turmeric
• Honey with propolis from Nicoya.
– And he decorated it with a grill made with palm and dried lemon.
• 50 ml Johnnie Walker Black Label
• 50 ml cordial Tamala (Juanilama, organic turmeric, honey with propolis, coconut and lemon essence)
• 150 ml sparkling water
– Decoration: palm grill and dehydrated lemon
Based on Nicoya
The expert commented that he based his cocktail on the Nicoya Peninsula, one of the 5 blue zones in the world. These are regions where many of its inhabitants are over 100 years old. But, in addition, Rodríguez obtained many of the ingredients from him thanks to the Guanacasteca Agro-Organic Association, a group of about 30 highly trained organic farmers, with 100% natural products.
The news of his triumph was received from Australia by Tim Phillips, the new Global Ambassador for the Johnnie Walker brand. “It was an incredibly impressive drink”, said Phillips.
“Winning this challenge at a global level, in the best cocktail competition in the world, is not easy. The bartenders of the other 55 countries have a spectacular level. This is the fruit of teamwork with my colleagues, friends and contestants from previous years, Clark Jiménez and Nelson Martínez, as well as the support of the entire Costa Rican bartender union”, stated Rodríguez.
“I hope this will help bartenders and bar owners in Costa Rica follow the path of professionalization, the path is step by step, but soon, I am sure, that we will have a country identity in cocktails that will be a real tourist attraction, we have the ingredients and the talent to do it”, added Rodríguez.
Rodríguez works as Head Bartender of a group of restaurants made up of Patagonia Del Mar, Patagonia Grill, Bamboo Sushi and La Argentina, all on Tamarindo beach. In 2014, this professional had won the national competition, thanks to his originality, technique and professionalism, qualities that gave him victory in 2021.
As a result of the pandemic, the competition – which was based in Madrid, Spain – developed in a particular way. The 55 bartenders sent their clearly specified recipes (and ingredients) to the organization.
And in the place of the contest there were “avatar bartenders” who had the enormous responsibility of recreating the drinks, as if it were the contestant himself. The judges were live in the space to see the presentations, taste the drinks, and award the prizes.