Words by: Ingmar Voerman/ Ben Lobos
Photography by: World Class / Ben Lobos
Past October Ben Lobos from Dr. in Rotterdam represented The Netherlands in the dazzling global finals of the prestigious World Class competition in Berlin.
56 bartender finalists from all over the world competed in the toughest challenges during these days. Ben’s victorious journey ended with pride, as het secured #16 Bartender of the World.
Difford’s Guide asked Ben for his three favourite signature cocktails from the finals.
#1 Lowland Tea
Ben: "For the Johnnie Walker Flavours of a Nation Challenge on Day 1, I took the judges on a travel through the Netherlands. The first drink was a sort of high tea.
The creamy notes within Johnnie Walker Black Label enticed me to create something creamy but not too sweet. I wanted to provide something unique and balanced. I looked through the library of spirits and liquors of the Dutch, and found Advocaat to be something typical, and with a strong creamy character that could enhance the creaminess of the Johnnie Walker blend.
I chose to make my own Advocaat to be able to control every element of the drink. I foraged sea buckthorn to slow juice, which gave an incredible bitterness to combat that of the sweet Advocaat. Slow juiced apple juice lifted the texture and brought forward the Cardhu notes from within the Black Label blend. The walnut bitters rounded the bold characters in the cocktail."
40ml Johnnie Walker Black Label
40ml Homemade Advocaat
30ml Slow juiced (Foraged) Sea Buckthorn
25ml Slow juiced Apple Juice
2 dashes Walnut Bitters
Method: Thrown from shaker to shaker over ice.
Trown for controlled dilution and chilling, but also to maintain the texture of the drink, enhancing the creamy nature of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
Serving: Poured and strained from the shaker in a Delfts blauw Tea Pot. Served from the Tea Pot in little tea cups, to share with everyone.
Advocaat Recipe (makes 800ml)
10 x egg yolks
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon speculaas powder
1 vanilla pod
300g beet sugar
200ml Johnnie Walker Black Label
50ml Old Schiedam 10yr Jenever
100ml Coal Ila
#2 Three Drops
Ben: "This was the final drink for my Tanqueray Ten Presentation. I spoke of creativity and my passion for (minimalist) art. How you can take a single line for a walk and create something beautiful with simple marks.
This drink sounds simple, as we see ingredients that work well together, such as gin, vermouth and cherry. But these are then joined by barrel aged sherry wines, which provide a depth and unusual touch to the cocktail.
The Pepper Bitters push a spice to the final notes, and citrus olive oil (in which the grapefruit peels that infused the Americano, are reused to power the oil) lingers on the palate, enhancing the citrus heart of Tanqueray Ten."
45ml Tanqueray Ten
25ml Grapefruit infused Cocchi Americano
20ml Oloroso Sherry
10ml PX Sherry
2 dashes Pink and Black Pepper Bitters
Method: Trow the cocktail from shaker to shaker over ice. Strain in an antique, pre-chilled brandy glass.
Serving: Garnish with three drops of grapefruit infused olive oil
Ben: "This drink was my aperitif cocktail for the Before & After Challenge, with Zacapa 23.
As I conducted a consultation, as we do at Dr., I delved into the medicinal values of the ingredients. Zacapa 23 was the medicine closest to the gods, chamomile is naturally calming, antibacterial, and adds a floral reflection to the cocktail.
Bulleit rye whiskey, heightens the spice notes within Zacapa, and pickle juice provided vinegar which enhances appetite and speeds up digestion.
Taste wise, it also added a delicious fresh, green note.
Fig is a naturally calming flavour, which also strengthens digestion and lowers cholesterol. To end with, Chartreuse Elixir is a classic remedy to cure all, designed by the monks."
50ml Zacapa 23
10ml Chamomile infused Bulleit Rye
10ml Pickle Juice
5ml Fig leaf Syrup
Dash Chartreuse Elixir
Method:Short and fast throw 3 times over ice, strain and serve in an in antique sherry glass
Serving: Pair the drink with Gala Melon and Serrano Jamon