Callum Baines from Edinburgh's Treacle Bar & Kitchen proved both visionary in his predictions of what people will be drinking in 20 years' time, and also an accomplished mixologist to win 1800 Tequila's Visionaries Competition and a trip to Mexico.
The challenge to create "a visionary cocktail that will pioneer the cocktail scene and set the tone of what will be stylish in 20 years' time" could either be considered tough or incredibly open ended, giving competitors tremendous freedom of expression. Competitors gazed into the future, taking inspiration from everything from sustainability and the impact of global warming, partly a result of a world governed by Emperor Trump.
Our own Simon Difford was joined on the judging panel by Oliver Pergl (Proximo's tequila educator), Alex Walker from The Langham (last year's winner), Douglas Blyde (ES Magazine) and Alice Lascalles (FT How to Spend It).
Now, for the recipes from all six finalists along with the perceived future that inspired their cocktails.
One Goose Entry, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Glass: Charity shop coupe
Garnish: Drops chilli bitters
Method: STIR all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled coupe.
35ml 1800 Reposado Tequila
50ml Vegetable consommé (vegetable stock and waste vegetables blended with herbs and seasoning)
10ml Homemade coriander & agave liqueur
2 dash Chilli infused soy substitute (made with dark molasses, balsamic and cider vinegar)
Inspiration: "Looking back at the industry as a whole over the last 20 years – considering the masses of new products becoming available, the increasing skill of the modern bartender, the emergent and declining trends, the changes in the wants and needs of the consumer... Our industry is so rapidly evolving that it's pretty tough to imagine where we'll be in 20 years' time. That said, one constant throughout time has been the classic cocktails. These classics have earned their names as such and while I would not be confident to predict too much about the future, I do believe they're here to stay."
"Hair of the Dog is a modern interpretation of a classic cocktail. There has been a renewed focus in the industry on "going green" - that is, using locally sourced ingredients with a greater emphasis on health and less on ABV. As a result of this shift in attitude, we have been forced to become more creative with ingredients. In order to do this, we are learning from those that have been doing it long before us – the chefs. Their culinary skills and experience are being employed by bartenders to explore the various methods and techniques used to achieve the best flavours from these relatively new ingredients."
"On a much larger scale the last 20 years has inspired an increasingly environmentally aware population, and within all aspects of the industry there is increasing pressure to decrease our carbon footprint. We as bartenders can make simple changes such as the sourcing and use of ingredients, use of compostable and reusable straws, recycling of furniture and glassware... The list goes on but the positive impact these small changes can have are in no way insignificant."
"Both of these trends show no sign of slowing down. It is my hope that they continue to inspire our industry as we strive to better ourselves as bartenders. The guest experience is largely dependable on the hospitality of the bartender. It does not begin with the presentation of a drink but with the welcome they receive from the moment they enter your company. I consider myself lucky to work in a bar with two simple core values – great drinks and great service."
"With Hair of the Dog I have created a drink that is simple to build. The drink is much lighter, and smoother compared to it's classic counterpart. It is a shorter, more elegant drink with greater depth of flavour and character. I hope my guests will enjoy both the drink itself and also offering their opinions on comparisons between the two. "
Treacle Bar & Kitchen, Edinburgh, Scotland
Glass: Trump mug
Garnish: Prickly pears
Method: STIR all ingredients in an oak smoked stirring glass and strain into ice-filled mug.
50ml 1800 Añejo
25ml Cactus and aloe syrup
25ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 dash Camomile bitters
Inspiration: "Due to increased global temperature from global warming, natural water sources and a number of fresh ingredients may become unavailable. Therefore, I believe sustainability will become the main focus in cocktails of the future. Ingredients that can survive in versatile climate conditions will become popular and necessary. All of the ingredients incorporated in this cocktail can be produced in these new challenging conditions without furthering the depletion of the earth's natural resources."
"The cocktail has a theatrical element from the smoking of the glass. It also provides inviting aromas to all guests in the bar. By using ingredients such as aloe and cactus, that are not commonly found in cocktails, I provide the customer with a new flavour experience. I can also confidently market the cocktail as a 'hangover-free' drink due to the naturally hydrating properties of cactus and aloe."
The Aviator Hotel, Hampshire, England
Glass: Etched coupe
Garnish:Ground ginger & turmeric rim
Method: Shake first four ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
45ml 1800 Blanco
30ml Turmeric honey syrup
15ml Freshly squeeze lime juice
5ml Vanilla extract
Top with Ginger & coconut water foam
Inspiration: "There has been a rising shift recently in people starting to be more proactive when it comes to their health, especially in millennials. They are leading the charge by making health-promoting diet and lifestyle choices. Soda and other artificial ingredients in products like syrups, have been declining in sales for the past 5 years and consumers are constantly searching for the next best product, that positively boosts their wellbeing. This also reflects on the cocktail industry. Right now, charcoal is a huge trend, with every chic bar having a go at the black detoxifying powder. I think this new way of consumers being in charge of their health isn't just a trend that's going to die soon, but very much the future of the cocktail industry as we know it. My cocktail has a bountiful of detoxifying, anti-inflammatory and vitamin packed compounds, that would secure its self in a healthy orientated future."
"The guests will see the lovely warm orange glow of the drink and instantly think of that lovely Jalisco sun in Mexico. Then they will take their first sip, catching that warm spicy rim of ginger and turmeric, to then be chased with the sweet coconut espuma, which will balance those spicy elements. Afterwards they will finish with the main event of the orange, sun-like cocktail. The classic smoothness of the 100% blue agave 1800 tequila comes through first, followed by that familiar spice of turmeric and a soft finish of sweet vanilla. I want my guests to be taken on a journey around the world, experiencing flavours from the Far East, Caribbean and the home of tequila, Mexico. But most importantly I want my guests to feel good and happy when they drink my 'Jalisco Medela' (Medela is health in Latin), knowing all the health benefits that come with every sip. Who would turn down a drink, if they knew it could be cleansing out those toxins at the same time."
Library Bar at the Lanesborough, London, England
Glass: Highball wrapped in Mexican weave
Garnish: Pop-corn filled cone pegged to rim
Method: Throw all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50ml 1800 reposado
30ml Homemade fortified tepatche
30ml Homemade grapefruit & lime sherbet
Inspiration: "My inspiration for this cocktail is coming from my guests. Watch what they're drinking, keep the main flavour and taste, and make a perfect tequila cocktail. Following the high demand of margaritas, Tommy's and Palomas, I decided to focus on them. I also wanted to keep this Mexican touch."
"For the taste, I wanted to keep this sweet and sour taste from the Tommy's margarita. I believe that in 20 years the fight for the agave will increase between the agave syrup industry and the tequila industry. So to keep the fight on the tequila side I decided not to use agave syrup but use a sweet and sour sherbet. For this sherbet I decided to use grapefruit and lime to retain the fresh and citrusy flavours from the Paloma and margarita."
"And for the taste I wanted to stay on a Mexican touch with a tepatche fortified and the tequila of course. So I use the 1800 Silver to stop the fermentation and fortify my tepatche, and for the cocktail I use the 1800 Reposado which will give all these lovely soft spicy flavours. To keep the Mexican touch I serve with some salty gusano popcorn."
"I also believe that in 20 years the world will be a part of this ecology system. So, I decided to make a cocktail with only tequila and fruit; less delivery and less bottle. I believe that the homemade will make up a big part of the bar industry. I also serve the cocktail with a wooden straw to follow this system."
"I expect that my guests will like this. A cocktail which keeps the DNA of all the classic tequila cocktails and then I'll see these guests coming back just to enjoy this perfect tequila cocktail."
Coya Mayfair, London, England
Glass: Wooden cup
Garnish: Sal de gusano (red), dried jalapeño powder (green) symbolising the 3 three colours of Mexico on the white foam, with banana peel powder in the middle to symbolise the coat of arms of Mexican flag.
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
50ml 1800 Reposado
15ml Mushroom infused Crema de Mezcal
60ml Clear tomato water
15ml Light beer cordial
2 spoon Pineapple & banana ketchup
Inspiration: "With my cocktail this year I'm trying to create a new category of drink. Cocktails were meant to be aperitivos (before dinner), then there was a cult of digestivos (after dinner) in past decades. The new category I'm trying to create I called it 'sustitivo', which means to be a substitution; an 'instead of dinner' drink, along with the result of the umami flavour explosion (salty, sweet, sour, spicy and smoky). The aim is not to skip the eating for drinking, but to find a good compromised balance between the two, and consuming this cocktail we both drink and eat a little. All the raw ingredients are organic and full of vitamins, nutrients, proteins, good bacteria and other health benefits. Some ingredients boost, some ingredients eliminate the appetite. My chosen vessel is also a compromise between a wooden cup and a bowl."
"Under the concept of sustainability, I'm trying to use every edible part of the chosen ingredients (the skins, the leaves, the peels of fruits and vegetables) with possible minimal wastage, as well as different culinary techniques (preservation, clarification, infusion and the maillard effect) and the time factor (present, future and recycling). I'm using local ingredients such as pineapple, banana, tomato with additional mushroom flavour."
"Clear tomato juice: I was using the ripened bananas to help ripen the tomatoes before they were boiled in water for 2 minutes to remove the skins easily for the best result. Then gently peel off skins, keep and later dehydrate. Then blending the meat of tomatoes to a purée, then place into the freezer overnight, filter through sieve and let it release the juices during melting. I was also using a cheese cloth for receiving the clear and yellow juice of the tomato. The leftover of the tomato purée dehydrated as well and it makes a tasty matching with the future superfood, the protein full meatworms."
"Pineapple and banana ketchup*: cook 1 sliced and peeled pineapple (155C) for 20-25 minutes, until they start turning brown. Wash the peels of the banana very well then cut into thin slices and dehydrate. When it's dry, put in food processor to create the banana peel powder I'm using for a garnish. Soak the cooked pineapple chunks in caster sugar overnight then blend together with 1 peeled banana and half part white wine vinegar. Strain the fibres through a fine strainer. Let it sit for 3 days in fridge."
"Mushroom infused Crema de Mezcal**: add 60g dried porcini into 500ml Mezcal joven. Place it in a vacuum bag, seal and leave it for 1 hour on 55C in the joule controlled sous vide bath. Then filter through super bag or cheese cloth to receive the Mezcal infusion."
"Beer cordial***: place 150g piloncillo into 200ml lager beer. Stir it until the raw sugar dissolves, then add 25ml fresh lemon juice. Fix a cap on the bottle and keep it refrigerated for 6 days."
"A great opportunity to try a new category (sostituto = instead of dinner) drink called Queselada; made only using organic ingredients and lot of health benefits based on Tequila, the healthiest spirit in the world which gained its popularity because of it's benefits. Ripened and matured under the sun 5-8 years minimum, a glass of sunshine flavoured with umami. Salute!"
Cocktail Trading Company, London, England
Glass: Sealed pouch
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass or sealable pouch.
50ml Strawberry jam, rose wine & tarragon
40ml 1800 Reposado
10ml Citric acid solution (2 spoons citric acid to 680ml cold water)
2 dash Saline solution (2 spoons salt to 680ml cold water)
Inspiration: "Truth be told, two of some of my greatest passions are anime and bartending. So for my favourite tequila, I thought it only fitting to combine those two things for my cocktail. The direct inspiration came vacuum storage bags and creating cocktails ready to drink. This lead to my favourite anime of all time "Cowboy bebop". It's set in the not too distant future and follows several bounty hunters as they galavant through space! This Sci-Fi reality is not quite as unbelievable as it might sound. With Earth's dwindling resources and our own insatiable curiosity of the unknown, means that accelerated space exploration is only a matter of time. In space, there is an obvious lack of fresh produce. My cocktail The Last Straw was designed for the homesick space travellers of the future. Delicious nostalgia, reminding them of summer nights on planet Earth."