Competition season is in full swing and one big final just wrapped. Ray Letoa of New Zealand bagged a first place finish at the Grand Finals of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2018.
Johnny Mansoor of Lebanon took second. Maximiliano Vallée Valletta of Canada landed in third.
Head Judge Mike Ryan reported that the competition was close. He attributed Letoa’s win to the bartender’s ability to “capture the vibrancy and exuberance of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago and of the House of Angostura.”
The competition’s prime event was a seven minute drill during which each of the ten finalists were tasked with creating two cocktails (of course Ango products were a required ingredient.) Letoa’s winning entries were an amaro based drink called “Delicousness” and a rum based drink called the “Old Flame.”
Letoa already touts a sterling reputation. The bartender made a name for himself as a champion of the beverages and cuisine of his native Samoan culture. Throughout the South Pacific, he is a frequent media presence.
His spoils for winning this competition include a (giant) $10,000 check and a two-year contract as Angostura’s® Global Brand Ambassador. Oh yeah. He also gets the title of Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Champion. So, he’s got that going for him—which is nice.