The Head Bartender at the prestigious 5-star Westbury Hotel has won the top award at one of the most hotly-contested Irish drinks competitions. The 24-year-old Dub Oisín Kelly was crowned All Ireland Champion at the inaugural Shed Distillery Curious Journey Cocktail Competition hosted by Dalcassian Wines & Spirits at House Dublin on Monday.
Oisín’s intriguing Irish Negroni put a curious twist on Count Negroni’s Florentine Classic to celebrate its 100thyear anniversary. The winning drink, featuring the iconic Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Irish Mead & Citrus Zest wowed judges at the gala finals held at House Dublin.
45 Bartenders from leading venues across Ireland battled it out for one of just four places in the national finals.
Finalists were given ten weeks to create four unique cocktails in a bid to impress the judging panel featuring Aaron Wall (Homeboy London), Peter O’Connor & Jules Mahon of Dalcassian Wines & Spirits and The Shed Distillery Marketing Manager Seán MacGabhann .
Oisín beat off stiff competition from finalists Leah O’Connor (The Shelbourne Hotel), who created “The Cocoa Roski”, Peter Polak (Cask Bar Cork), who named his cocktail “Just To Clarify”, and Valentin Veliz (The Ivy Dublin) with “No Wrong Choice to claim the once-in-a-lifetime prize of a Curious Journey to meet industry legends from across the world.
Oisín’s trip kicks off with a three-day mentor experience with Brian Taft, Head Distiller at The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim. He will then jet off to London to the world-famous Homeboy Venue to work alongside Aaron Wall and some of the most celebrated experts in the global drinks industry.
Then it’s off to Bar Convent Berlin, where Oisín will reveal his winning serves to the world.