In mix: Cocktail expert keeps it Irish for world title bid
A barman is shaking up the world cocktail scene with specially crafted beverages from locally foraged Irish fruit and wild flowers.
Carl d'Alton is hoping to beat the 56 other finalists at the World Class Global Finals in Berlin by using the skills he has learned working in Cask, a bar in Cork city.
Carl, who is usually busy blackberry foraging at this time of year, has put plans on hold to head to the German capital following in the footsteps of his boss Andy Ferreira, last year's World Class Global Final winner.
"After working in bars for a while, I found I had a bit of flair for flavour," he said.
"After my first cocktail competition win, I got hooked on the buzz and I've been pushing myself to enter more.
"I got really into the different expressions of spirits and trying to do something new every time.
"Andy, last year's World Class winner, opened Cask using seasonal flavours in his cocktails and asked me to come in and have a look at the bar and I loved it, loved the vision of it.
"It's been a roller-coaster ever since, we've won every award we could in Ireland, accomplished a lot of what we wanted to do by just using Irish ingredients.
"We challenge ourselves to find an Irish equivalent of an exotic flavour - instead of Madagascan vanilla, we use woodruff which grows wild and if you dehydrate it and make a tea, it's a beautiful grassy flavour."
He admits the Irish climate is "harsh at times" so the cocktail menu is changed every 12 weeks.