Libbey's Flashback Challenge

Escrito por Simon Difford

Fotos por Dan Malpass

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Libbey, the glassware folk, challenged bartenders to “go back in time and recreate one of your first ever created cocktails by using one of Libbey's vintage glasses and give it a nice twist. Tell us your story about this drink and dedicate the cocktail to the person/book/bar that inspired you to start working in this amazing industry.”

Like other previous Libbey challenges, this captured bartenders attention and resulted in entries from Australia to New York. I was tasked with finding ten recipes that stood out, then to make and photograph each of these to find the three best.

Reading the recipes and stories from 50 plus entries, as well as looking at their photographs and often videos is harder than it sounds and for the sake of all those that entered, I hope I gave proper consideration to all. I chose my ten and then set about making each for Dan to photograph and both of us to taste.

You can see all ten cocktails I selected below, but I struggled to separate out just three so have persuaded Kevin and Sofia, Libbey’s Glass Ambassadors, to lavish prizes (well Libbey pins at least) to the first four, all of which I particularly liked. These were made by:

  • Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson
  • Mattia Lombardi
  • Santiago Distrito Cordoba
  • Cesar Debus

Many thanks to all who entered and to Libbey for once again inspiring creativity. Join the Glassology by Libbey community for upcoming challenges and to keep updated on the Glassology Design Contest which will begin in September and which offers contestants the opportunity to design their own glass.

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Mexican Sunset

By: Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson
A riff to a Tequila Sunrise dedicated to “two strong women. A former boss of mine, the owner of the first bar I had the pleasure to serve in when I moved to Belgium, Hilde Vandeput, she and I often saw the sunrise together after sharing thoughts on the industry and other aspects of life. she gave me inspiration and freedom to explore, to make drinks and put them on the menu (even if the bar had nothing to do with cocktails to begin with). And the second one, to my partner Maja Jantar, for without her support, help, inspiration, willingness to play and a constitution to tolerate the madness that comes with this line of work, I would not be here.”

Glass: Libbey flashback cooler
Garnish: Dehydrated blood orange
Method: STIR ingredients with ice and stain into chilled glass.
150 ml Mezcal & blood orange milk punch base*
25 ml Campari

Mezcal & blood orange milk punch base*
Mix 9 parts Mezcal (espadín, La muerta) with 12 parts freshly squeezed blood orange, then slowly pour mixture into 5 parts full fat fresh milk and stir gently while mixing. Allow the milk to curdle and leave to settle overnight in the fridge, then filter through a coffee filter.

Difford says: Tequila Sunrise meets the Milk Punch in this striking looking tall cooler. As Ásgeir says, depending on your oranges, you may need to add a little sugar syrup to balance (I did).

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This is Rita / El Misterio de Oxaca

By: Santiago Distrito Cordoba
Watch the video

Glass: 1924 Coupe
Garnish: Worm salt crusta glass rim
Method: THROW all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
50 ml Mezcal Vida
20 ml Italicus
20 ml Lime juice
15 ml Amontillado Sherry (Montolla-Moriles D.O.)

Difford says: The clue is in the name Rita and this appropriately Margarita-like cocktail is mezcal based with Italicus and sherry replacing triple sec. I didn’t have the worm salt specified for the rim, but celery salt looked the part and worked well. 

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My Dear Friend

By: Cesar Debus
A riff on a Stinger dedicated to Sebastien Pellegrini Aka Zouzou, “who give me the love and the passion for this job.”

Glass: Libby Nick & Nora
Garnish: Star anise
Method: STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
60 ml Remy Martin VSOP cognac
20 ml Giffard Menthe-Pastille
10 ml Aniseed & dry figs syrup*

*Aniseed & dry figs syrup: Anis seed 5% of the weight water plus sugar and Dry figs 5% of the weight water plus sugar.

Difford says: This anise and fig influenced riff on a classic Stinger is both inspired and really tasty. I’m a huge fan of Giffard Menthe-Pastille, perhaps one of the most underutilized liqueurs of the modern bartending age so it’s great to see it so well employed in this cocktail.

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Once Upon A Time

By: Mattia Lombardi, Amsterdam
Inspired by the Negroni and the Brandy Alexander, and a mistake he made during his first bar shift while making them. “The White Wine Vinegar is a dedication to my colleague and friend Cécile Fayn as it's her favourite ingredient.

Glass: Libbey Nick & Nora
Garnish: Orange zest
Method: THROW all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
30 ml Armagnac Blanche
30 ml Lillet Blanc
30 ml Suze
2.5 ml White wine vinegar

Difford says: A short and lightly bitter aperitif-style cocktail with an attractive golden, almost sunny appearance.

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A Barhopper's Sour

By: Danny Judge
A riff on an Amaretto Sour. Danny says this is “A complex reinterpretation for those cocktail lovers who can't just visit one bar per night.”

Glass: Libbey Nick n' Nora
Garnish: Lemon zest twist expressed and made into a little bird on the
rim of the glass.
Method: DRY SHAKE all ingredients without ice. Then SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
15ml Woodford Reserve
25ml Disaronno
1 spoon Fernet Branca
1 spoon Lagavulin 16 (or any other comparatively-smoky Islay scotch)
20ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
10ml Agave syrup
20ml Egg white
1 dash Fee Brother's orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Difford says: I’m keen to try any riff on an Amaretto Sour that has Fernet and Islay single malt. For my own tastes, I’d like to see the amount of sweet amaretto slightly reduced compared to the other ingredients to make drier and more spirituous.

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The Final Call

By: Troy Rondon Guasque
Dedicated to the bar Troy started bartending at six years ago, Café Demain (Nijmegen, The Netherlands). “One of the first milestones I celebrated at Demain was competing in my first competition. The drink I created for this competition was called The Frosty Recovery. For this challenge I recreated this recipe using techniques I learned while working at Demain, creating a 2.0 version.”

Glass: Libbey Nick & Nora
Garnish: Lime zest twist (discarded) and edible flower
Method: Put the genever, lavender syrup, lime juice and cucumber in a closable jar and briefly stir them. Add the milk, close the jar and let it sit for 24 hours (outside the fridge). Filter the mixture through two paper coffee filters. Once the mixture has been filtered, bottle it and put in the fridge until at serving temperature. Serve in a pre-chilled glass.

4 slice Fresh cucumber
100 ml Bols Genever
20 ml Homemade lavender syrup*
20 ml Fresh lime juice
30 ml Whole fat fresh milk

*Lavender syrup (1:1.5): 200ml water, 300g white sugar, 10g lavender buds. Heat the water while slowly dissolving the sugar, after dissolved add the lavender buds. Turn off the heating source and let it sit for 10 mins, then filter.

Difford says: Lavender, cucumber and genever combine harmoniously in this clarified milk punch. It’s a faff to make but nothing compared to many food recipes. For fellow lactose intolerants out there, Whole Fat Arla Lacto Free does the same job as regular cow’s milk.

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The Bellevue Club

By: Thomas Ryan
A “light, aperitif-style alternative to the Clover Club, named for the hotel which now sits where the eponymous gentlemen's club used to meet.”

Glass: Libbey Mini 1924 Coupe
Garnish: Raspberries & basil sprig
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain back into shaker. DRY SHAKE (without ice) and fine strain into chilled glass.
35 ml Lillet Rose
5 ml RinQuinQuin Peach Aperitif
20 ml London Dry Gin
20 ml Lemon Juice
10 ml Raspberry & Basil Syrup (2:1 White Sugar: Water steeped with fresh Raspberries and Basil)
1 dash Peychauds Bitters
Ms Better's Bitters Miraculous Foamer

Difford says: I’m not a fan of foamer due to the bitterness it tends to impart, so being a traditionalist I opted for egg white. Perhaps why the result was just a tad on the sweet side. Lillet Rose, gin, raspberry and basil all sit well together in what is a good riff on a Clover Club.

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Daiquiri 40e1

By: André Neto, London
A riff on a Daquiri inspired by Natalia García, Bacardi Brand Ambassador “Because of her devotion to Bacardi!” and dedicated to
Elisabete Carvalho of Bar Espaço 40e1 in Lisbon.

Glass: Libbey Nick & Nora
Garnish: Float apple air (300ml Luxardo Apple Sour, 1gr egg white powder
& 1gr Xanthan gum powder)
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
25ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
25ml Bacardi Ginger
25ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
5ml Luxardo apple sour
10ml Sugar syrup
2ml Ginger juice
3 fresh Basil leaves

Difford says: I really like the combination of apple and ginger in this Daiquiri riff, but Daiquiris are delightfully simple and straight-forward so I’d look to cut down the number of ingredients and perhaps use a zingy ginger liqueur in place of the flavoured rum, ginger juice and sugar syrup. I’d also prefer without the air. I’ll definitely be revisiting this cocktail and its flavour combo.

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Peter Pan

By: André Silva
Dedicated to Joao Pedro (Peter), who in 2000 invited André to join the Opera Prima bar team.
Watch the video

Glass: Libbey 1924 Coupe
Garnish: Anis star
Method: MUDDLE spinach leaves and raspberries with the sugar syrup and lime juice in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass over an ice ball.

3 fresh Spinach leaves
3 fresh Raspberries
half lime
10ml Sugar syrup
50ml Star of Bombay Gin
1 pinch Salt flower
1 fresh egg white

Difford says: This cocktail is tasty and balanced, but the raspberries dominate subtler flavours and I'm not sure the spinach leaves contribute much. I must confess, that a lack of planning meant that I found myself without an ice ball when we came to photograph this cocktail, so I carved off the corners of a cube. Hence, when I came to place the star anise garnish, the flat surface on top of the ice seemed preferable to balancing on the rim (as André stipulates).

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Once Bitten

By: James Chaib
“My inspiration came from back in the day when me and all the boys were in someone's house on a Saturday watching the football and losing money on coupons. We would have a crate of beer, a crate of cider and a bottle of blackcurrant cordial. That's a snake bite where I'm from. Tasty and guaranteed to get the job done.”

Glass: Libby wine
Garnish: sour apple candy snake
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain back into shaker. DRY SHAKE (without ice) and fine strain into chilled glass.
30ml Calvados (Chateau de Breuil 15 ans)
30ml Corynwijn (Bols 6)
20ml Cider and black syrup*
20ml Lemon juice
Top with beer of your choosing (Lellabel blonde ale)

*cider and black syrup: 500ml Scrumpy Jack cider, 125g blackcurrants and 500g sugar.

Difford says: I didn’t have the Lellabel blonde ale specified and my version of this cocktail came out a tad on the tart side. I was also lacking the sour apple candy snake garnish so made do with dehydrated apple and blackcurrant presented in a similar way to the photo that accompanied the recipe. Despite my own inadequacies in properly following the recipe, I very much liked the flavours of the finished drink and may revisit to add to our cocktail database.

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