Last February 4, 2019, Giffard Asia held it’s second Giffard West Cup Cocktail Competition in the Philippines, and 12 talented bartenders competed for the country finals. Every two years, Giffard searches the globe for the next West Cup champion. It was founded in 1997 (named West Cup because the first competition took place on the west coast of France) and has grown to include 17 countries so far.

The campaign for this year’s Philippine leg of Giffard West Cup Asia Selections started by asking bartenders to create a fun classic drink using at least 10 ml of Giffard Blue Curacao Liqueur and post a pic on Instagram using the hashtag #giffardbluemymind.

The Giffard Asia Team narrowed down over 40 entries to the top 12, who had to recreate their drinks on Competition Day that was set for February 4 at Nokal in Poblacion. Apart from replicating their Blue My Mind cocktails, they also had to undergo a second challenge called Chasing the Bird, where they had to create their version of the Jungle Bird, a Malaysian-Tiki classic created in the former KL Hilton’s Aviary Bar in 1978, to pay homage to the host of the Giffard West Cup Asia Regionals. The top 12 had to impress judges Diageo Brand Ambassador Rian Asidao, DrinkManila.com’s editor-in-chief Tatum Ancheta, Agimat’s Liquid Maestro Kalel Demetrio, and Distileria Limtuaco brand ambassador Clayton Munar not only with the look and taste of their final cocktails, but also with their skills behind the bar, originality, use of the product, and presentation and personality.

Judges Distileria Limtuaco brand ambassador Clayton Munar, Diageo Brand Ambassador Rian Asidao, DrinkManila.com’s editor-in-chief Tatum Ancheta, Agimat’s Liquid Maestro Kalel Demetrio, and Giffard Asia’s Tj Antony

The challenges allowed the contenders to stretch their imagination and creativity, using various techniques, unique ingredients, and edible garnishes to whip up their cocktail entries.

Two-part Challenge: Chasin’ the Bird and Blue My Mind
Jay Natividad from Nokal

Jay Natividad from Nokal, who was 2017’s first runner up to the Philippine leg of the West Cup, was named the Philippine champ for 2019. He impressed the judges with his Blue My Mind cocktail Biotope (Don Papa Masskara, Giffard Blue Curacao, pineapple reduction with buzz button flower juice, Giffard Guava Syrup, aromatic bitters, and garnished with edible aromatic paper. Jay used the exotic buzz button flower that causes a mild numbing sensation when you first take a sip and edible paper (like in the childhood classic White Rabbit) to add texture to the drinking experience. He emphasized working with local ingredients because it’s more affordable and helps local farmers. His Chasing the Bird entry, Sabong (dark rum, Giffard Pineapple Syrup, Giffard Bigallet China China, Campari, lemon juice, topped with homemade Kafir lime ginger soda, and garnished with smoked pineapple cotton candy shaped like a nest and Kafir leaf as a feather), takes inspiration from the Philippine cockfighting game. Sabong is a balanced and harmonious cocktail that left a great impression on the judges. His entertaining and confident performance and his impressive cocktails took him to the top of this competition.

Jay Natividad’s Biotope
Jay Natividad’s Sabong
Aden Raphael Manalo from Red-Eye Pop-up Bar and his Aves cocktail

Aden Raphael Manalo from Red-Eye Pop-up Bar presented his Heisenberg cocktail made with vodka, Giffard Blue Curacao, Giffard Amaretto Liqueur, lemon juice, grapefruit bitters, topped with falernum-passionfruit soda, and garnished with deep-fried chicken bites and dehydrated lemon oil. He took his inspiration from the tv series Breaking Bad and the trademark blue crystal meth. For his second challenge, he created Aves, made with dark rum, pineapple-chili shrub, Giffard Amaretto Liqueur, Angostura bitters, topped with Korean milk soda, and garnished with macaroons and dried pineapple).

Aden Raphael Manalo’s Heisenberg cocktail
Tomatito Manila’s Arnel Sulangsawa and his cocktail Kyubi

Tomatito Manila’s Arnel Sulangsawa drew his cocktail inspirations from the anime Naruto, naming his drink Chakra made with London No. 1 Gin, Giffard Blue Curacao, Tio Pepe Sherry, Giffard Elderflower Syrup, lime juice, orange bitters, rosemary juniper ice block, topped with Giffard blue falernum foam, and garnished with Giffard blue olive lemon jelly. For his second drink, he created Kyuubi with pineapple rum, Giffard Bitter Syrup, Italian Aperitivo, tamarind pineapple shrub, creole bitters, garnished with bitter tamarind chew and Giffard bitter pineapple sphere.

Arnel Sulangsawa’s Chakra
Dennis Conanan from Midas Hotel and Casino

Dennis Conanan from Midas Hotel and Casino served up Philippine Azul made with Absolut Vodka, Giffard Blue Curacao, pineapple juice, Orchid lime juice, Cointreau, and garnished with lime (lotus style) and cherry. He presented a Sarimanok inspired cocktail for his second drink made with dark rum, pineapple juice, Giffard Vanilla Syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, cinnamon powder, and garnished with dehydrated pineapple and lemon twist.

Dennis Conanan’s Philippine Azul

The Island’s Eliel Tejones whipped up Maharlika (coconut rum, Giffard Blue Curacao, Giffard Orgeat, dayap, egg white, cacao bitters, and garnished with dehydrated dayap) and Hornbill (light rum, Giffard Coconut Syrup, Giffard Maraschino Liqueur, lime juice, melon juice, Campari, coconut water, garnished with coconut meat with melon meat and caramelized muscovado sugar).

Eliel Tejones whipped up Maharlika
5ynco bar’s John Vincent Naive

John Vincent Naive from 5ynco Bar used unusual ingredients in his cocktails La Vie (rum infused with black pepper, Giffard Blue Curacao, Giffard Banana Syrup, lemon juice, celery bitters, and garnished with orange peel). His take on the Jungle Bird is called Ramah (Bacardi Gold, fresh pineapple, Giffard Agave Syrup, Giffard Pineapple Syrup, lemon juice, Campari, salted wine reduction, garnished with fresh pineapple drizzled with Giffard Pineapple Syrup and truffle oil).

John Vincent Naive’s La Vie cocktail

Another competitor from 5ynco Bar, Jomar Mabalot, presented Laid Back (Malibu Coconut Rum, Giffard Blue Curacao, orange juice, lime juice, tamarind syrup, mint leaves, topped with soda water, and garnished with tamarind salter candy and mint sprig) and Bayanihan (Bacardi 8, Giffard Orgeat, Giffard Rose Syrup, pineapple juice, Campari, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, garnished with rose syrup sugar art).

5ynco bar’s Jomar Mabalot
Jomar Mabalot’s Laid Back
Versus Barcade’s Naurence Andan and his drink Agapornis 

Naurence Andan of Versus Barcade served up My Story with Bacardi 8, Giffard Blue Curacao, apricot syrup, lime juice, chocolate bitters, black Himalayan salt, garnished with orange peel. For his second drink, he mixed up Agapornis which means Love Bird (Plantation Pineapple Rum, Giffard Fig Syrup, Giffard Banana Syrup, Campari, salted pineapple juice, lime juice, and garnished with orange and lemon peel bird and dehydrated pineapple soaked in Giffard Banana Syrup).

Naurence Andan’s My Story
Renan Iyog from Rambla

Renan Iyog from Rambla presented his cocktails ArnibalxLicor (Jose Cuervo Tequila, Giffard Blue Curacao, Giffard Agave Syrup, lime juice, spiced pandan arnibal, aromatic bitters, amaretto jelly, and garnished with dried half lemon with sago and pandan leaves). Jungle Bird’s Home (Bacardi Gold, Giffard Chocolate Syrup, Giffard Vanilla Syrup, Aperol infused with strawberry and cinnamon, pineapple juice, lime juice, and garnished with pineapple, candied almonds, and chocolate) was his second drink.

Renan Iyog’s ArnibalxLicor
Richie Cruz from Cobbler

Richie Cruz from Cobbler used inventive techniques in his cocktails Gale’s Rainbleu (rum infused with cardamom and juniper, Giffard Blue Curacao, rich syrup, grapefruit juice, lavender-infused cream, aquafaba, soda water, and garnished with lavender pods soaked in Giffard Blue Curacao). His second drink, Papa’s Smoked Pispis or PSP (Don Papa Masskara fat-washed in chicken oil, Jagermeister, Giffard Banana Syrup, Giffard Mango Syrup, Giffard Piñacolada, calamansi juice, garnished with Giffard Banana and Giffard Mango tea air foam) took inspiration from Bacolod chicken inasal.

Gale’s Rainbleu
Rambla’s Duane Legazpi and his cocktail, Bittersweet

Rambla’s Duane Legazpi placed second with his cocktails Blue Passion (Jack Daniels, Giffard Blue Curacao, Giffard Passionfruit Syrup, fresh dalandan juice, lime juice, egg white, cardamom bitters, garnished with curacao dalandan candy topped with homemade passionfruit caviar and clipped salmon cone). The ups and downs of life inspired his second cocktail, Bittersweet (Bacardi Gold, Giffard Banana Liqueur, Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Syrup, Giffard Orgeat, lemon juice, Campari-infused grilled pineapple, grapefruit bitters, garnished with Giffard Banana crust and mint bouquet).

Duane Legazpi’s Blue Passion
Kevin Villafuerte from Cru Steakhouse Marriott Hotel Manila

Kevin Villafuerte from Cru Steakhouse Marriott Hotel Manila got first place, with his cocktails Cielo Azul (Monkey 47 Gin, Giffard Blue Curacao, Grand Marnier, pineapple shrub, peach bitters, garnished with dehydrated pineapple) and Bird in a Cage (Nusa Caña Rum, Giffard Agave Syrup, grilled pineapple juice, chocolate bitters, garnished with chocolate nest and feather with pineapple leaves).

Kevin Villafuerte’s Bird in a Cage

Jay Natividad will be representing our country in Malaysia to compete for the Regional Finals this March. The top regional finalists will then compete in the West Cup global final in Château d’Angers in France’s Loire Valley.

Giffard West Cup 2019 bartenders together with Savoroso Inc., the competition judges, and Giffard Asia team
Agimat Bar’s Kalel Demetrio, DrinkManila’s Tatum Ancheta, Giffard Asia’s Linda Nguon, Savaoros Inc’s Danee Macatulad, GWC2019 PH  first placer Kevin Villafuerte, GWC2019 PH champion Jay Natividad, GWC2019 PH second placer Duane Legazpi, Diageo’s Rian Asiddao, Limtuaco’s Clay Munar, Savoroso Inc’s  Sheila Macatulad, and Giffard Asia’s Tj Antony.  

Follow Giffard Asia on Facebook and Instagram for updates and information, and check out the bartenders’ drinks at #giffardbluemymind and #giffardchasingthebird.

Savoroso exclusively imports and distributes Giffard liqueurs, syrups, sauces, and spirits in the Philippines. 

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