Team USA was victorious at the sixth annual 42BELOW-sponsored Cocktail World Cup 2010. After five days of challenges in the New Zealand towns of Queenstown and Wellington, the team of Mark Stoddard of Happy/Bitter Bar in Denver, Todd Thrasher of PX, Restaurant Eve and The Majestic in Washington, D.C., and Sean Hoard of PDT in New York City took home first prize in the extreme competition.
Team USA, comprised of Mark Stoddard, Todd Thrasher and Sean Hoard, celebrate their victory.
Thrasher created Team USA’s winning cocktail, the “I have too much thyme on my hands right now at this point in my life” (42BELOW Pure Vodka, apple bitters, lime thyme syrup and an artichoke aperitif), which won unanimously.
Matt Djokovic, brand director for 42BELOW, says Team USA stood out from the competition. “Team USA [members] were consummate professionals throughout the week,” he says. “Though they had been a team for the smallest amount of time, they gelled quickly and had a clear plan of attack to win each of the challenges.”
Twenty-four bartenders from seven different countries competed in five competitions, during which bartenders were challenged to show off more than just mixology talent. They created mocktails on a Shotover Jet, a boat that spins through narrow gorges and ravines at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour, and they reinvented classic punch in the 21st Century Punch contest. They also had to perfect the Modern Martini using 42BELOW Vodka and compete in the Mystery Box challenge, in which each team created cocktails from secret ingredients, including butter and balsamic vinegar.
The final Signature Drink round asked mixologists to use 42BELOW Vodka with any other ingredients. Bartenders had seven minutes to make six identical drinks and were judged on performance, presentation, taste, complexity and overall impression.
Djokovic says this year’s competition was one of the best but also one of the toughest. “It’s mentally taxing, as there are so many challenges through the week. It’s physically draining, as there are so many early starts and extreme activities, and the competition itself is incredibly hard fought in a way that most cocktail competitions are not,” he says. “To win the World Cup is a feeling of satisfaction, a bartending summit knocked off, and that’s a great feeling that means this competition will always be a big draw for bartenders.”