Thursday 23 May 2019

Victory tastes sweet for Fermoy's cocktail king John

John fires up his creative juices to create a cocktail masterpiece

John Coleman putting the finishing touches to his award-winning ‘Bee Right With You’ cocktail
John Coleman putting the finishing touches to his award-winning ‘Bee Right With You’ cocktail

Bill Browne

Locally sourced ingredients and that special touch that only a master of his craft can provide proved to be the winning combination that has made Glanworth's John Coleman 'cock of the walk'. 

John, who has been a fixture behind the bar of Fermoy's Grand Hotel for almost a decade, has scooped the prestigious 'Best Irish Cocktail 2018' title with his sumptuous 'Bee Right With You' creation. 

John used all the skills he has learned over more than two-decades of creating cocktails to come up with his award-winning recipe, which he described as "celebration of north Cork's vibrant artisan food and beverage  producers." 

Run annually by the cocktail competition challenges bar staff from across the island of Ireland to come up with original combinations based on an Irish produced spirit. 

"I have been making cocktails for 20-years and love the challenge of bringing the right combination of ingredients together to create something new and special," said John. 

He was inspired to enter the competition after coming up with a new batch of cocktails for the recent Taste of Fermoy festival, a community focused initiative held specifically to highlight the wealth of local artisan food and beverage producers.

"I really enjoyed the experience and in particular the reactions of people to my concoctions. The national cocktail competition was the perfect opportunity for me to use some of the local produce I came across during the event to create something new with a distinctly local twist," he said. 

John used a combination of Blackwater Gin, honey bitters and calendula petals from Fermoy based producers S Bee's and Botanica as the base for his award-winning cocktail. 

He then added a spark to flame to tease out the combination of flavours and finished off his creation with a dash of honey, lime, lemon, a pinch of cinnamon, a splash on tonic water and an egg white to bind it all together. 

After being shaken (but not stirred) the mix is poured it into a cold Martini glass and garnished the cocktail with a honey tuile and more calendula petals. 

His mouth-watering cocktail beat off stiff opposition from more than 100 other entrants to win the competition and the coveted 'king of the cocktail' crown. 

"What I liked most about the whole competition was the emphasis it placed on using only Irish ingredients. I wanted to take that a step further by using just locally produced and sourced items, further highlighting the truly astounding range and quality of artisan produce on our own doorsteps," said John.

"Naturally I was delighted to win, as it had been a number of years since I had entered a competition such as this. To be in a position to help promote local producers at the same time was a wonderful bonus," he added.