The world’s first botanical rum distillery, Spirited Union, will launch their first Highballer cocktail competition in March to find the next innovative expression in botanical rum.
Spirited Union Distillery are in search of the perfect bartender to become the ‘Highballer’ of the Year 2020. Entrants will be tasked with creating the perfect Highball using Spirited Union’s current range of botanical rums. The second round challenges competitors to create a brand new botanical rum concept and in the third round finalists will have the opportunity to distill their own rum recipe in the Spirited Union Distillery in Amsterdam. The winner will go on to have their own expression launched as Spirited Union’s 2020 Limited Edition Rum.
Round 1 “The Bartender”
The competition tasks bartenders, distillers and mixologists with submitting a unique Highball recipe using any of the Spirited Union Botanical rums by posting a picture of the drink, with the bottle of Union Rum used, on social media, tagging @Spirited_Union_Distllery with the hashtags #InUnionThereIsStrength #Highballer & #Competition. Entries are open between 1st - 30th March and are welcome from bartenders across the UK and Europe.
The best entries will be shortlisted by the Spirited Union judging panel and semi-finalists for Round 2 will be announced through the Spirited Union Distillery social media channels at the end of March.
Round 2 “The Botanist”
Semi-finalists will receive a sample pack of five single origin rums. Competitors must choose a rum that they feel best works with their botanical rum concept, ready to present in the most impactful way possible.
Entrants will also be asked to present an idea to help Spirited Union further reduce their carbon footprint. The distillery already runs using solar energy, their bottle seals are plant based and packaging is made from recycled materials.
All competitors from the UK and Europe will present their botanical rum concept, serve their Highballs and discuss their sustainability plans in a live bar environment. Competitors from the Nordics, Germany and Poland will be asked to present their ideas online and finalists will be announced on the Spirited Union distillery social media channels at the end of April.
Round 3 “The Distiller”
Finalists will be invited to Amsterdam for a three-day competition from 5th - 7th June, testing their palates, knowledge, and ability to create an exceptional botanical rum.
On day one, the finalists will be sent to local markets and famous spice shops to gather their botanicals, before joining the Master Distiller to learn about the processes they will need to create their concepts. In the evening, finalists will have time to relax with a unique distillery dining experience.
Day two tasks finalists with re-distilling their chosen botanicals with their chosen rums, before presenting their sustainability ideas and Highball serves to the judges. They will then have the opportunity to host a tasting session with their very own bottle of botanical rum and the winner will be announced.
On the final day, owner and founder, Ruben Maduro will host a breakfast Q&A on how he went from bartender to distillery owner and creator of botanical Union Rum. Competitors will then join the distillery team on a tour of how Spirited Union operates, making the next batch of Union rums before returning home.
In the months following, the 2020 Highballer of the Year will be invited back for the distilling and bottling process of their limited-edition rum before it goes on sale throughout Europe. The winner will also help shape the brands ongoing ideas and future distillery plans, alongside the opportunity to consult on new launches in their home country.