The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Kiwi bar owner wins global cocktail comp

Jason Rosen, the winner of the global 2017 Trois Rivieres Rhumbellion Cocktail Competition.

Auckland bar owner Jason Rosen travelled to Paris and Martinique recently to compete in the global 2017 Trois Rivieres Rhumbellion Cocktail Competition. After several intense rounds, Rosen became the winner of the coveted title and the second ever Kiwi to win any global competition. He tells us more…

The Trois Rivieres Rhumbellion Competition was broken up into three rounds. The first was the global entry round where bartenders from around the world enter drinks from their own country to compete for a chance to go to the semi-final in Paris. Twenty bartenders, including myself, were chosen by a panel of experts and then flown to Paris to compete in a food and cocktail pairing round with food prepared by double Michelin-starred chef Michel Roth, who was also a judge. We didn’t find out anything about the dish or ingredients until we landed in Paris. The top six from that semi-final round then moved on to the grand final in Martinique.

In Martinique, the competition started as soon as we got off the plane, with a secret, 25-question quiz about Trois Rivieres and cocktails of the Caribbean. Next was the second secret round where we were paired up with another competitor and have one hour, a table of local ingredients, to produce a five-minute presentation and punch for 40 people. Thanks to some good knowledge of the product, some excellent teamwork in the punch round, and the added show of sabering a bottle of champagne on the beach, I was able to win the first two rounds to secure the maximum points going into the third and final round.

The third round took place in a villa overlooking a private beach. It consisted of an 18-minute presentation where made three drinks, four times each. Each drink had to have a story behind it and fit together as whole while showcasing the Trois Rivieres Range. I chose to make three drinks that each represented my bars.

The first drink was for my bar Revelry – a cocktail lounge and nightclub that is known as a popular place for people to dance the night away. That was the inspiration for the ‘Zouk Zouk’, a Champagne and Agricole Blanc cocktail with a mix of tropical Caribbean and South East Asian flavours, the perfect drink to help you feel alive and ready to dance. Zouk is the popular style of dance music in Martinique and it’s also quite a fun thing to say over a busy bar. The drink features a quality dry Champagne, fermented Yuzu Honey Tea, Lime, Ginger, Mint, Trois Rivieres Sirop de Canne, and Trois Rivieres Rhum Agricole Blanc 50.

In 2016, I purchased my other favourite bar in Auckland, Mea Culpa. I lived above this tiny cocktail bar at the time so already spent way too much time there. My second cocktail, ‘The Usual Line Up’ was a tribute to bartender drinks and classic cocktails. This drink is made up of Trois Rivieres Cuvee du Moulin, Aperol, Manzanilla Sherry, Rosso Vermouth, and Pineapple Vinegar.

Coming this year is my new venture, The Parasol & Swing Company – a rooftop cocktail bar overlooking Auckland’s harbour. For my final cocktail I chose to do a twist on an old fashioned Milk Punch that would be similar in style to a milkshake – it’s called the ‘Martinique Hard Shake’.

After being named the winner, I was presented with an exceptionally expensive bottle of 1980s Milliseme Trois Rivieres Rhum in a Baccarat Crystal Decanter, a custom made monikered rhum barrel, a gold planted shaker and a trip to the Caribbean next year to be one of the judges of the competition.