Marv Cunningham, a bartender from The Bahamas has won the 10th Anniversary of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (AGCC). Representing the Caribbean in the revered cocktail competition, Cunningham was crowned the champion after competing against eight other bartenders from around the world in Trinidad and Tobago on 22 February 2020.
Rohan Massie from Tasmania placed second and Agung Satria from Vietnam was awarded third place.
Cunningham, whose specialty is culinary cocktails, also received an award for Best Rum Cocktail in the competition for Mas-Curried, and Massie picked up the Best Amaro Cocktail Award for Hidden Perfection.
Currently positioned at Aura Nightclub Atlantis Group, Cunningham has been bartending for over 20 years, and he’s the two-time winner of Taste of the Caribbean Best Caribbean Bartender award.
Cunningham has been awarded a cash prize of USD10,000 and a two-year contract as the Angostura Global Brand Ambassador for Angostura Aromatic Bitters, Angostura Orange Bitters, Angostura Rums and Amaro di Angostura. At rather end of term, he’ll return to Trinidad and Tobago to serve as a judge in the next AGCC Global finals.
Cunningham expertly navigated the rigorous competition, which included an interview and challenge to create two cocktails in seven minutes. He not only demonstrated his knowledge of the brand and category, but he entertained the competition’s judges, who included James Beard Award winning beverage professional Maxwell Britten; Christopher ‘Jillionaire’ Leacock; Banzarbar Bar Director Eryn Reece; Angostura Chief Brand Educator Raymond Edwards; and 2018 AGCC winner Raymond Letoa.
Cunningham’s winning rum cocktail, Mas Curried, captured one of the most iconic Trini flavours: curry. Combining it with cauliflower showcased how it can complement the flavour profile of the iconic Angostura 7 Year Old Rum, with its rich maple, chocolate, honey and toffee notes.
Massie’s winning Amaro cocktail demonstrated his finely-honed technique and precisely combined Amaro di Angostura with banana wine, beetroot soda, a parsley tincture and Angostura Orange Bitters.
Explaining what set Cunningham apart, head judge, Maxwell Britten commented: ‘Marv has the overall package and an incredible amount to contribute to Angostura. He demonstrated dedication to his craft, outstanding storytelling capabilities, a personal magnetism and a heart-warming humility. He has a culinary sensibility that is increasingly important both in today’s cocktail world and also in food preparation, as I’ve seen demonstrated here in Trinidad, Angostura bitters add the same magic to a dish as it does to a drink. His rum cocktail was probably the most unusual of the competition, I’d never considered adding cauliflower to a cocktail, but it really works.’
The AGCC took place ahead of the greatest show on earth, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The other finalists included Shana Rajahram (Trinidad and Tobago), Chad Lawrence (Canada), Gustavo Costa (Brazil), Mike Jordhoy (France), Simon Dacey (United Kingdom) and Vasile Dorofeev (Dubai).
Peter Sandström, CEO of Angostura, commented: ‘The work every single competitor put in today should be commended. They’ve invested so much time and effort into understanding our rich heritage and deconstructing the flavours of our Angostura Aromatic Bitters, Angostura Orange Bitters, rum and amaro portfolio. Marv was superb and we’re proud to have him share his passion for Angostura with the world over the next two years. He’ll have plenty of work ahead as we look to roll out new flavour innovations and premiumise the rum category’.
For more information about the competition, visit www.AngosturaGlobalCocktailChallenge.com.
BEST RUM COCKTAIL
Mas-Curried by Marv Cunningham
60ml Angostura 7 Year Old
30ml curry shrub
22ml fresh lime juice
2 dashes of cauliflower puree
5 dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake and double strain into an Old-Fashioned Rocks glass over a single ice block
Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel and a hand-crafted traditional plantain chip
BEST AMARO COCKTAIL
Hidden Perfection by Rohan Massie
30ml Amaro di Angostura
60ml banana wine
20ml beetroot soda
2 dashes parsley tincture
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Keep all ingredients in fridge except for bitters and tincture
Combine ingredients in Pinot Noir wine glass over ice sphere
Garnish with dehydrated beetroot crisp