Ti' Punch Cup 2018 Global Final

  • Ti' Punch Cup 2018 Global Final image 1
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Words by:
Photography by: Simon Difford

Held bi-annually, Rhum Clément’s Ti’ Punch Cup has to be the hottest of global cocktail competitions – after all the final’s held on the Caribbean island of Martinique. Competitors and guests (well over a 1000 of them) gathered in the setting of the old Rhum Clément distillery to witness a truly epic test of bartending skills and enjoy something of a carnival atmosphere.

The day long competition comprised of three knock out rounds. This started with the Ti' Punch round where each of the competitors were given six minutes to present their signature riff on a classic Ti' Punch. I was lucky enough to be one of the judges so sampled each of the 15 drinks, the recipes of which I have listed below along with my score for each of the competitors. Those of you who compete in such competitions may be interested to see the score sheet (scroll image above) which gave a potential of 25 points for garnish and penalised as much as 30 points for going over time. Hence, those bartenders which omitted garnishes or went over the allotted six minutes dramatically reduced their chances of making it through to the next round.

The question of what constitutes a Ti' Punch vexed us judges with a potential 25 points for "Ti' Punchness". While I prefer a tighter definition (see link), we concluded that for the competition a Ti' Punch should be 1. short, 2. simple, 3. include citrus (lime, lemon of grapefruit), and most importantly, 4. agricole rhum should be the dominant flavour.

Only 10 of the original 15 finalists made to the next round - The Market Challenge, where bartenders were presented with a selection of ingredients, many locally sourced from the island. With limited time to formulate their cocktails, this round saw the field reduced to just three competitors in the very exciting final round - Bethany Ham (USA), Dave Lam (China), and Yanick Brunot (Martinique).

This challenged the bartenders to prepare their ingredients, including cutting and squeezing 10 limes and opening a fresh green coconut, then make a cocktail using those ingredients against the clock. The judges then added seconds to each competitors time according to the taste/balance of their cocktail.

Kiowa Bryan, Rhum Clément's US ambassador, who hosted the competition, made opening a coconut look ridiculously easy as she demonstrated what the three bartenders had to do. However, hammering away at the tool used to punch a hole in the top so allowing the coconut water inside to flow proved a challenge for both Dave from China and Yanick, who being from Marinique we all expected would be the quickest. However, America's Bethany Ham showed both girl power and great initiative by disappearing behind the bar to sit on cross-legged on the floor with the coconut held between her legs as she hammered away at it.

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Bethany was the quickest by over a minute and this memorable performance, along with her high scores in the earlier rounds combined to make her the very well deserved winner.

Signature Ti' Punch round

The 15 finals and their Ti' Punch recipes in the running order on the day - their names pulled from a hat.

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Yannick Brunot

From Le Cloud, Fort-de-France, Martinique

Cloudy Clem

Glass: Wine
Garnish: Edible flower & pineapple leaf
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain back into shaker. Dry shake (without ice) and fine strain into chilled glass.
50 ml Rhum Clément Select Barrel
20 ml Purée de passion Pontier
10 ml Lemon juice
25 ml Egg white
1 spoon White sugar
Difford's score: 91/130

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Michele Picone

From My Lounge, Cesana Brianza, Italy

Breakfast Ti' Punch

Glass: Coffee cup
Garnish: Waffle & maple syrup
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled cup.
60 ml Rhum Clément Première Canne
30 ml Lime juice
45 ml Williams Pear sherbet
7 roast Coffee beans
Difford's score: 99/130

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Yeray Monforte

From Dr. Stravinsky, Barcelona, Spain

Raisin Canne

Glass: Old-fashioned
Garnish: Dill & rosemary sprigs
Method: Throw all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50 ml Rhum Clément Premiére Canne
7.5 ml Green Chartreuse
25 ml Manzanilla sherry
25 ml Lime juice
12.5 ml Simple syrup
Difford's score: 123/130

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Peter Nguyen Canh

From Lighthouse, Ho Chí MINH, Vietnam

Royal Punch

Glass: Tall china mug
Garnish: Dashes Angostura Bitters & guava flower
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
45 ml Rhum Clément Select Barrel
25 ml Ambarella (native plum)
15 ml Peach syrup
1 spoon Vanilla tea sugar
3 drops Angostura Bitters
Difford's score: 94/130

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Rasmus Greve Christiansen

From Mash Odense, Odense, Denmark

L'infusion de Lîle des Fleurs

Glass: Toddy
Garnish: None
Method: Build in glass and swizzle.
50 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
30 ml Lime juice
20 ml Canne sirop
1 spoon Dried red hibiscus
50 ml Hot water
Difford's score: 105/130

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Konstantinos Ristanis

From Spitaki Cocktail Bar, Ioannia, Greece

Pays des Revenants

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: None
Method: Shake all ingredients and fine strain into chilled glass.
30 ml Rhum Clément VSOP
10 ml Lime juice
5 ml Simple syrup
20 ml Hennessy VS
20 ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
Difford's score: 108/130

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François Badel

From Le Montford, Rennes, France

Ti' Quitoi

Glass: Tumbler
Method: Cook, shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50 ml Rhum Clément blanc (green label 50% alc./vol.)
1 fresh Kaffir lime (Combava)
20 ml Flower honey
½ slice Pineapple
1 fresh Passion fruit
Difford's score: 113/130

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Ashera Goonewardene

From The Beachcomber, London, UK

Retour Chez Moi

Glass: Mini tumbler
Garnish: Flamed thyme sprig
Method: Build in glass and swizzle.
25 ml Cantaloupe melon juice
1 spoon Demerara sugar
10 ml Lime juice
40 ml Rhum Clément blanc (green label 50% alc./vol.)
25 ml Grapefruit juice
Difford's score: 115/130

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Vincent Nouws

From Bar de Vieg, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Tea Ti' Punch (AKA Teati)

Glass: Silver tumbler
Method: Build in ice-filled cup and stir.
55 ml Rhum Clément VSOP
2 spoon Cane sugar
1 wedge Lime (muddled)
30 ml Citea Amsterdam Blend roobois tea
15 ml Benedictine DOM
Difford's score: 91/130

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Ivan Urech

From Atelier Classic Bar, Thun, Switzerland

Cordonnier et Prisonnier

Glass: Small goblet
Garnish: Pineapple, handcuffs and palm leaf
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice.
50 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
25 ml Lime juice
3 spoon White sugar
1 dash Bergamotte
3 piece Pineapple
Difford's score: 105/130

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Florian Springer

From Tumbar, Hamburg, Germany

Tiny Temptation

Glass: Old-fashioned
Garnish: Raspberries on stick
Method: Throw all ingredients with ice.
45 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
15 ml Lime juice
10 ml Clément cane syrup
10 ml Scheibel Finesse Himbeere
1 pinch Salt
Difford's score: 110/130

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Bethany Ham

From Clifton's Cafeteria, Los Angeles, USA

Pelée Punch

Glass: Ceramic pineapple mug
Garnish: Dehydrated fruit, mint sprig and volcanic ash (powdered sugar)
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
20 ml Fresh lime
15 ml Demerara syrup
20 ml Swedish punch
15 ml Falernum
Difford's score: 130/130

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Leanne Favre

From Clover Club, Brooklyn, USA

The Smoking Gun

Method: Swizzle in stirring glass to mix, smoke and pour into ice-filled glass (block ice).
60 ml Rhum Clément Canne Bleue
15 ml Lime juice
7.5 ml Orgeat syrup
15 ml Giffard Banane du Brésil
Difford's score: 120/130

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Dave (Ching Yin) Lam

From The Haploid, District Shenzhen, China

Never Blend

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Lime foam with dusting of sugar flamed to form meringue. Lime lice on rim.
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain back into shaker. Dry shake (without ice) and fine strain into glass.
50 ml Rhum Clément blanc (green label 50% alc./vol.)
30 ml Lime juice
20 ml Cane syrup
10 ml Egg white
Difford's score: 130/130

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Donald Simons

From Black Smoke, Antwerp, Belgium

Le Ti' Punch à L'ancienne

Glass: Wooden cup
Garnish: Flamed cinnamon stick
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into cup.
50 ml Rhum Clément VSOP
10 ml Monin Falernum syrup
10 ml Taylor Falernum
30 ml Lime juice
Difford's score: 111/130

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