Madrid Day 2

The second day had two challenges, one award ceremony and plenty of nerves!

Need for Speed

Remember how I said that 8 minutes to make cocktails is quite long, but with the addition of nerves, it might still be a perfect plot for bartender meltdown? Well – shame on me for telling, because that’s exactly what happened in my case.

I felt quite well prepared and ready until the countdown, and then it hit:

Judges: “Are you ready”

Me: “Yes”

Judges: “3,2,1 – Go”


The conversation inside my head though, was something like this:
Holy hippo what am I doing here?? Wasn’t I supposed to do something? Ah, Im making drinks – but which?

As the initial fog lifted, I was able to regain my head, and make my round of drinks:

Ketel One Sour, Ketel One Moscow Mule, Rob Roy (And yes, I did use Blue Label), Rosita and Last Word

Mixing drinks

Calm on the outside – chaos on the inside

World Class Madrid Speed challenge

Our lovely judges: Simon Difford, Dennis Tamse & Fjalar Goud

After the speed challenge I was quite down. To be honest, I wanted to go jump in the ocean (lucky for me Madrid doesn’t have one). However, it made me realise something very important. Since I was training for this and knew what to expect, it was very disappointing when I couldn’t deliver. The judges though, who saw and tasted it for the first time, had no idea what to expect and therefor didn’t have any expectations.

But what if this ever happen again? Well…..


My last challenge of the day was the Cannes Red Carpet challenge.

The Signature Cocktail

My cocktail was inspired by Morgan Freeman for two reasons: 1) He’s been one of my favo actors since I first saw him in Shawshank Redemption and 2) I wanted an actor that has the same souave character as the spirit.

When you look back on Mr. Freemans career, its quite interesting how certain dates kind of pop out.
Take for instance his breakthrough on the silver screen, Street Smart from 1987. This was the same year Don Julio Gonzales’s sons created a tequila bearing their fathers name in celebration of his 45 years as a tequila maker.
There is no doubt Don Julio Tequila has changed the world of tequila, and the impact it has had can be summed up in Mr. Freemans 1985 movie title –  “That was then….This is now”.

The name of my drink was inspired by Mr. Morgans 2003 movie Dreamcatcher, because I feel it captures the spirit of Don Julio Gonzales. He had a dream, and through hard work and passion, he dedicated his life to following that dream. 2003 was the year he decided to retire, and pass his legacy on to Mr Enrique de Colsa, the current Master Distiller at Don Julio.

A dreamcatcher is also an object said to filter someones dream, letting only the “good” dreams pass while catching the “bad ones” in the net.
I am definitely a dreamer, and I’ve had mine since I was young, I felt this was the perfect occasion to use it.


Monica Berg 1

45 ml Don Julio Blanco
20 ml Fresh Lemon juice
20 ml Plum & Frankincense syrup
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitter

Shake, strain into prechilled cocktail coupe.
Garnish with edible flowers dusted in Plum powder.

Monica Berg 4 copy

Ritual Bottle Serve

For this serve I used Sofia Coppola, who just like Tanqueray no Ten comes from a great family legacy. Nevertheless, she chose her own path and through her career as a screen writer and director, she not only excelled but also pushed boundaries with great success. Her movies often have grand themes, but at the end of the day, what they really capture is the relationships and meeting between people.

My serve is a tribute to exactly that – The perfect serve when people meet.

The beauty of the gin and tonic is in the simplicity. It’s one of the few drinks that is loved regardless of generation, gender or nationality, and its also one of those drinks equally loved by people on both sides of the bar. While it’s definitely open for interpretation, a Tanqueray no Ten and Tonic will never be Lost in Translation.


In the top chamber i used different fruit and vegetables that all marries well with the gin, while in the second one I used the different citrus fruits found in Tanqueray no Ten.

Monica Berg 5


Madrid Day 1

Here’s a recap of my first day in Madrid

The first day had us do one challenge, and my first was Bartender-Barchef  or food pairing if you will. Each competitor was to make 2 cocktails, one pre prepared (we got the brief beforehand) and one on-the-spot creation. Both cocktails were to match a tapas dish chosen from a selection of 6 dishes. The brands available was Ron Zacapa and Malts, Talisker 10, Singleton of Dufftown and Cardhu to be exact. The time given was 20 minutes to taste the food and create your second cocktail, 10 minutes to set up your bar and 10 minutes to make and present your drinks to the judges. Judging this round was Mario Navarro, Global Brand Ambassador for Ron Zacapa, Donald Colville, Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador and Iñaki Oyarbide, Spain’s first 3 star Michelin chef (!).

The 3 dishes we knew was Manchego cheese with quince jam, Iberico ham con Pan con Tomate and Churros con chocolate – matching our pre prepared cocktail.

The 3 new dishes was Fried codfish, Spanish omelet with Padron pepper and Crema Catalan.

The cool thing about this challenge is that in reality its actually a 2 in 1 challenge, both food pairing and mystery box. Since you don’t know what dishes you’ll get or what ingredients you’ll have until you are here, its all about instincts – which I love!

For my first drink I’d chosen Ron Zacapa as my star and matched it to the Manchego cheese and quince jam.



It took me a while to come up with the concept of this drink, because as I was reading the brief, my first idea was to make a beer cocktail. I felt it was a bit risky since I didn’t want to take any focus away from the  Zacapa, but I also know better than to fight my instincts when making drinks. In the end, reason lost to heart, and I went for it -Beer me up Scotty!

Top of the Hops
45 ml Zacapa
10 ml Fresh Lemon
2 barspoon Cedarwood Syrup
1 dash Sherry Vinegar
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitter
50 ml Above and Beyond Hefe Weizen

Throw the first 5 ingredients with ice, and strain into a pre chilled sherry glass. Top up with the beer. Plate the cheese and quince on top of the glass. I also served a small glass of the beer with the drink, so it looked like a serving of sherry and beer.

As for the beer, its a hefe weizen brewed with fresh ginger and lemon peel during fermentation. Before bottling it, I added a reduction of Zacapa, and let it rest until the competition. Let me just say, the wait was nerve wrecking! Since the beer is still alive, once you bottle it  you cant open it without killing it.
It was very important to me that it is a beer with the same flavour notes as Zacapa, not a Zacapa with beer added to it. The difference might only be marginal, but crucial never the less. Luckily, I had some help from Dave and the guys from Crow bar in Oslo – thank you so much!


I knew I wanted to work with Talisker for my second cocktail, and to be perfectly honest I was hoping for something spicy. When that didn’t happen, I chose the omelet based on two things: I’m an egg person  – and I love padron peppers!!


from food

At the beginning of our 20 minutes to create the second cocktail I had absolutely no idea of what to do.  Since the omelet was quite delicate in flavor I decided to make a light and refreshing drink, but the funny thing is that I would have never come up with this under any other circumstance!

Tropic Thunder
45 ml Talisker 10 y
15 ml Green Chartreuse
15 ml Orgeat
30 ml White grapefruit
15 ml Lime

Swizzle (fo’shizzle) with crushed ice and serve with Spanish omelet & padron pepper on the side.

I realize its quite an unusual thing to use both Talisker, Green Chartreuse and orgeat in the same drink, but I wanted it to match both the omelet and the pepper not just the one or the other. The greener flavors from the chartreuse marries well with the pepper, whilst the orgeat works perfectly with the potatoes in the omelet.

Even though I broke a bottle during set up, was super nervous and almost forgot my name in the beginning of my presentation – I still had so much fun during the first day.
And to make it even better – I won this challenge!!

World Class Western European Finals

World Class Western European Finals

A quick recap of the challenges and country winners at WE World Class finals in Madrid last week.