"Untouchable" Wellington bar owner enters worlds largest cocktail competition

Thursday 27 March 2014, 11:45AM

By Clinton den Heyer



Apartment Bar co-owner Riki Carter has entered the worlds largest and most prestigious cocktail competition, The Diageo Reserve World Class Series

Mr Carter no stranger to competing in cocktail events at a world standard. Over the last few years of his career, he has achieved winner and place holder in global competitions such as The Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge (2nd place overall, 1st place Rum Challenge), The New Zealand Glenfiddich Untouchables (1st place 2008 and 2009) and co wrote the winning cocktail menu that took The Matterhorn into 4th place in the Drinks International Magazine Worlds Best Bar category in 2007.

The Diageo Reserve is the world’s largest and glamorous bartending competition. Last years world finals were held over the course of a week on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, with a final party held in Barcelona.

Mr Carters’s entry is a cocktail menu in the form of a history book covering early wine making, the use of distillery for perfume, and the invention of the ice machine. He covers the temperance movement with a non-alcoholic cocktail using all of the flavors and botanicals of gin, but without the distillation.

According to Carter, “none of my staff or customers have been able to tell the difference in a blind taste test between a gin and tonic and my temperance entry. Its quite laborious and expensive to make however, so we are not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

The international competition focuses not only on the taste and methodology of the cocktail, but also on the business acumen and promotional ability of the contestents. 

Between now and the New Zealand final in Auckland later on this year, Carter is profiling the cocktails at The Apartment.  Contestants are required to throw events and match drinks to the needs of different customers and palettes over the course of the judging period.

Other contestants from Wellington include Ben Simpson from The Roxy Cinema restaurant and bar in Miramar.

Last year Wellingtonion Jason Clark won the global competition with a cocktail called “Kissed by Marilyn.”