Leighton Rathbone is South Africa’s National Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Winner

Ace bartender Leighton Rathbone (centre) of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium has won the South African leg of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2020. Rathbone was up against nine other top bartenders in a fierce competition, with Peter Lebese (right) of SIP Exclusive coming in second place and Martin Strobos of Slo-Jo (left) in third.

Rathbone made two cocktails in just seven minutes: His Amaro Cocktail using Amaro di ANGOSTURA® was called “Amaro Siesta “and his Rum Cocktail using Angostura®’s 5 Year Old and ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters was called “Trinidad Breeze”.

Rathbone initially started bartending to pay for his graphic design studies and by the time he graduated he realised he was more passionate about mixing than he was about design. He moved to Cape Town in December 2017 where he started working at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, which he says ignited this passion. A fan of Angostura®’s products, he says “That little bottle of bitters with the yellow cap has been with me from day one of bartending. In fact, I initially thought that every other bitters was a knock-off of Angostura. Angostura is by far the best”.

AGCC 2020 SA National winning cocktail by Leighton Rathbone Trinidad Breeze Leighton Rathbone is South Africa’s National Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Winner
AGCC 2020 SA National winning cocktail by Leighton Rathbone – Trinidad Breeze

The judges faced a difficult decision. According to Head Judge, Travis Kuhn: “The caliber of contestants this year was amazing. Presentation was great, the guys looked smart and there were some very tasty cocktails doing the rounds, which is what the competition is all about. Well done to all the finalists, and our top three winners!”

AGCC 2020 SA National Judges and Top Three Leighton Rathbone is South Africa’s National Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Winner
SA National Judges and Top Three

Rathbone will move on to the Africa & Middle East Regional Competition to be held in Cyprus from the 12th to the 14th of November. Regional Finalists from around the world then progress to the Grand Final, set for the 23rd of February 2020 in Trinidad and Tobago during Carnival Tuesday, where they could win the ultimate prize: the title of “Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Champion,” US$10,000 and a two-year contract as Angostura®’s Global Brand Ambassador, representing ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, ANGOSTURA® orange bitters, Angostura® Rums and Amaro di ANGOSTURA®.

Here’s a look at his winning recipes:

Rum-inspired Trinidad Breeze

Ingredients

  • 37ml Angostura 5 Year Old Rum
  • ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters   
  • 12ml Fresh Lime Juice                                
  • 25ml Cranberry Juice                                 
  • 25ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice                                  
  • 12ml Roast Red Pepper Syrup
  • Coriander leaves
  • Grapefruit zest

Instructions

Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Shake together all liquid ingredients. Tip ice out of the Old Fashioned glass, add fresh ice and strain cocktail over. Garnish with ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters-soaked coriander leaves and grapefruit zest.

Amaro inspired Amaro Siesta

Ingredients

  • 50ml Amaro di ANGOSTURA
  • ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters               
  • 25ml Cold Brew Espresso                           
  • 12ml Pink and Red Syrup
  • Pink peppercorns   
  • Lime leaves

Instructions

Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Shake together all liquid ingredients. Tip ice out of the Old Fashioned glass, add fresh ice and strain cocktail over. Garnish with ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters-soaked lime leaves and sugar syrup soaked pink peppercorns.

Trinidad Breeze and Amaro Siesta Leighton Rathbone is South Africa’s National Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Winner