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New Zealander Mixes Her Way To Second Place Glory

New Zealander Mixes Her Way To Second Place Glory At
Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix

A selection of the world’s very best bartenders shook and mixed their way to Havana, Cuba, the home of Havana Club rum for the legendary 2010 Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix last week, with a leading New Zealand mixologist coming second.

Included in the competitors was New Zealand’s very own Claire Harlick from Wellington’s Matterhorn bar, whose unique style lead her to take second place honours, out of 37 leading mixologists from around the globe.

“I’m beyond ecstatic,” says Claire. “To even be here in Havana is a huge honour, and to take second place just feels amazing – this is an accomplishment that I feel so proud to take home with me.”

Claire landed herself centre stage in Cuba, after winning the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix New Zealand finals in Wellington at the end of last year. As an accomplished mixologist, her ability to interpret and create innovative new cocktails impressed the judges and helped her make it through to the top round.

“During the finals I felt terrified, but I’ve waited my whole life to be here, and this experience is something which I will never forget,” said Claire.

A biannual event now in its eighth year, the Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix used a new set of competition rules and regulations in 2010, allowing for more creativity with the drinks and from the bartenders themselves, a complete performance.

Each competitor had ten minutes to prepare three unique drinks, which all used Havana Club as a base. During preparation, contestants had to explain their recipes and were judged on their cocktails’ appearance, aroma, taste, finish and balance plus their own personal skills, knowledge, innovation, communication and overall image.

Claire was joined in Havana by renowned New Zealand Havana Club Mixologist Chris Harrop, who is a former New Zealand Bartender of the Year, and was the chair of the nationwide judging panel last year.

“Claire was a stand-out representative for New Zealand, and to come second in the world is a huge achievement,” said Chris. “She will have learnt a vast amount from this process, and to have been able to showcase her talent in front of some of the best in the business, is an incredible honour in itself.”

The eighth Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix finals took place in Havana, Cuba, the home of Havana Club rum between the 11th and 15th of May 2010, uniting some of the world's most prestigious bartenders and mixologists.


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