He beat 3,000 other bartenders from 33 countries around the world to clinch the title.
As part of his prize he chose 4 World Cities to visit, and Cape Town was his first stop. He flew in a few days ago and held a masterclass with the KWV brandy people at The House of Machines for a cross section of bartenders from top bars such as The Orphanage, Vista Bar at One and Only and Leopard Bar at The 12 Apostles.
I am not normally a cocktail kind of gal; I usually find them too sweet and many are, to be honest, idiotic looking – all day-glo colours and silly umbrellas.
Maybe it’s just the joints I have been drinking in, so I was pleased to discover that his preferred cocktail is minimalist in style, and not an umbrella in sight. I’ll also add that they are not the huge half pint jobs, but smaller servings with more intense flavours.
So what better place than The House of Machines to hold the masterclass. They style themselves as a prohibition era speakeasy style bar. Think of what your Granddaddy would have drunk if he lived in Chicago in 1935; Bourbon, Gin, Vodka, Rye Whiskey etc.
Rusty had the 35 assembled bartenders and mixologists enthralled for 1 1/2 hours as he gave them the inside track on how to make that perfect libation.
He even smoked some Dilmah Tea as a flavour ingredient for one of his creations.
All I know is that they tasted delicious.
Here’s the recipe for his award winning cocktail; William’s Punch.
20ml home-made lemon sherbet*
20ml freshly pressed rhubarb juice
10ml Bols Parfait Amour
35ml Bols Genever
*Lemon sherbet: Grate skin of 12 lemons on a fine grater, add 200g caster sugar and muddle all together to release the oils from the zest. Add 600ml lemon juice, let it infuse for 15-20 minutes and then filter.
Pour all ingredients except for the champagne into a punch bowl. Add enough ice to chill it down. Top up with champagne and add top with grated nutmeg. Garnish with lemon peel and seasonal fruit.
Motivation behind cocktail:
This punch is named after King William of Orange, the person responsible for boosting the genever and gin culture in England. Punch is my favorite category and it is considered as the father of cocktails and plays an important role throughout history. ‘Punch’ means five in Hindu and William’s Punch contains five ingredients. I have created a traditional recipe of lemon sherbet, as was made in England in the 18th century by William Terrington, used Bols Genever as it is the spirit that caused a drinking revolution in our country, rhubarb – the most common ingredient in English cuisine, Bols Parfait Amour as a description of my love for the job I do, and finally champagne to make it festive. And this punch wouldn’t be complete without a sprinkling of nutmeg.