Best in glass: Mark Cooney wins bartender of the year
Extraordinary cocktails were the order of the evening as the Irish winner of Diageo Reserve’s World Class Bartender of the Year competition was crowned
Mark Cooney is ready to take on the world, as the bartender from The Sisters Social in Limerick has been named World Class Bartender of the Year Ireland 2022. Cooney was one of five leading Irish bartenders to take on a cocktail-making challenge as the Diageo Reserve World Class competition returned to a live format this year.
Taking place at Three Storey, Dublin, the challenge was designed to test their skills, with food pairings forming the centre of the 2022 event. Cooney pitted his craft against Emmy Pip Knight (The Sitting Room @ Delahunt, Dublin), Eoin Lynne (Cask, Cork), Emanuele Martucci (Americana Bar, Dublin) and Kevin Hegarty (Glovebox, Dublin), as each bartender created four drinks against the clock and designed to complement a menu by chef Mark Moriarty. Cooney’s prize package, worth over €25,000, includes entry to the World Class finals in Sydney this September where he’ll compete against 54 of the world’s finest bartenders, plus €5,000 worth of coaching and materials to prepare him for the global head-to-head. He also wins PR and media support, the World Class Ambassador Ireland title for 2022/23 and a minimum of five paid World Class events across 2022 and 2023.
“The World Class competition is a true test of skill and passion,” Cooney says. “It helps to shine a positive light on the creativity and skill involved in cocktail creation and this year’s challenge involving food pairing was fantastic. I’m so happy with the result given the calibre of my competitors and I’m honoured to be flying the flag for bartenders across the country when I represent Ireland on the global World Class stage in Sydney in September.”
Competitors were required to bring their creative A-game to this year’s challenge, as Mark Moriarty’s menu demanded world class cocktail pairings. To meet the Precision & Pressure challenge, participants were first required to pair a Tanqueray No. Ten aperitif with Moriarty’s canape of ‘Steak & Chips’ (a crisp confit potato, dry aged beef tartare and horseradish).
Ketel One Vodka was then to be paired against his aperitif starter of chicken liver royale, passion fruit, pineapple and roasted coffee, while Don Julio Tequila was paired in a digestif against Moriarty’s digestif dessert of seaweed caramel custard, redcurrant, hazelnut and wood sorrel. Finally, Roe & Co. Irish Whiskey digestifs were paired against the petit four of Irish coffee choux bun, shiso, yuzu caramel. Cooney’s winning cocktails included his ‘Ketel Opus.2’, ‘Grinning Beggar,’ ‘Moon and Harbour’ and a standout on the night, his ‘Fist Full of Roses’, a Tanqueray No.10-based cocktail that impressed judges with its floral sophistication.
“We were delighted to run the World Class programme in a fully live format again after a tough few years for the industry,” says World Class Ireland Lead Nial Molloy. “It was great to be back in the bars, supporting our trade partners and the talent they foster, and to bring the food element to the final with Chef Mark was a real sign of where the industry is going: providing quality flavour experiences and world class hospitality for guests.”
In September, Mark Cooney will compete in the World Class Bartender of the Year 2022 Global Finals in Sydney. The five-day event will be jam-packed with immersive opportunities for spectators to observe the action as well as participate in incredible World Class Brand experiences.
“The World Class programme fosters innovation and creativity,” says Sorcha Ní Chléirigh, head of marketing Diageo Spirits IOI, “with our challengers’ creations becoming more impressive year after year. Our 2022 Irish champion Mark Cooney did not disappoint, crafting serves that continued to excite the judging panel as the evening progressed. We are so proud of Mark, a worthy winner who will thrive as a World Class ambassador in the coming year.”
Fist full of roses
By Mark Cooney, World Class Bartender of the Year Ireland 2022
60ml Strawberry Balsamic-Infused Tanqueray No.10
30ml Belsazar Rose Vermouth
5 Drops Acid-Adjusted Saline Solution
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice, stir to chill, pour and serve up in a Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with strawberry dust on the rim of the glass.
Diageo Reserve’s World Class is on a mission to inspire people to drink better and create unforgettable experiences in the process. Whether at home or in a bar, World Class encourages consumers to think and care about fine drinking in the same way they care about fine dining. World Class has supported, trained and inspired over 400,000 bartenders across 60 countries for over twelve years, while partnering them with the world’s finest spirits – the Diageo Reserve collection. World Class is also the authority on the drinks industry whom consumers look to for the information on the latest drinks, trends, cocktail recipes and industry insight.
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