The market challenge is always highly anticipated during World Class finals. It’s so much fun, and it gives you a chance to step out of your everyday comfort zone of flavours and ingredients. The St.Tropez market was amazing – lots of vintage glassware, Louis Vuitton bags and other memorabilia, but we had a very different mission (and budget).
The set up is like this:
We all got 30 Euro and 45 minutes to spend at the St.Tropez market, before returning to the ship. Back at the ship, we got 30 minutes to prep and then 10 minutes to set up behind the bar + 10 minutes to present and make our 2 drinks before the judges.
There was a lot of different things at the market, but in the end I ended up with the following:
Preserved lemon, liquorice root, squash blossoms, chorizo, dill, black truffle, Blonde Beer and flaked chillies.
Unfortunately, the squash blossoms wilted to much and I couldn’t use them – and the truffle wasn’t strong enough to give the wanted flavour to the drink in mind. I had to make some changes back at the ship, but in the end I was happy with my drinks.
My first drink, Licence to Dill, was pretty straight forward without any major prep needed.
Licence to Dill
50 ml Ketel One Vodka
20 ml White chocolate liqueur
15 ml Lemon juice
2 sprigs of fresh dill
Shake ingredients on ice, double strain into prechilled cocktailglass. Garnish with sprig of dill
For my second drink, Smokey & The Bandit, I had a lot more prep to do.
As soon as the 30 minutes started, I grabbed the blender to start off my chorizo syrup.
Normally I would let this infuse for days, but due to the time restraint, I needed to make a quick version without loosing on the flavour.
I chopped up the chorizo, put it in the blender adding equal parts sugar and water, and blended it for 5 minutes.
To boost the flavour, I infused 20 of Ketel One vodka with the chilli flakes and added it to the mixture. I let it sit for 10 minutes before straining it through a coffee filter.
Initially, I was planning to use vinegar as my source of acid for this drink, but when I saw the preserved whole lemons at the market I couldn’t resist using it. It still has the tart sourness of fresh lemon, but with an added layer of salty brininess from the preservation.
During the prep time I just cut the lemon in half and squeezed it, just like a regular lemon.
As the base for my drink I was going to use smokey whisky, but because of the lemon I decided to go for a mix of two spirits – Lagavulin 16 (Smokey) and Don Julio Reposado (a very nice “bandit” indeed).
Smokey & The Bandit
30 ml Lagavulin 16
20 ml Don Julio Reposado
30 ml Chorizo syrup
15 ml Preserved lemon juice
Blonde beer float
Shake first four ingredient on ice, strain into a highballg glass with ice. Top up with blonde beer. Garnish with mini chorizos served on top in a tea strainer.
The funny thing about this challenge, which was revealed during elimination, is of course that Steve Olson whom I served Smokey and the Bandit, is a vegetarian – and Mr Ueno san isn’t to crazy about dill (Even though he now has a licence). Lucky for me, both (all actually) judges are extremely professional, and were’t offended. Still, I bet its gonna be a “tv moment” !
Images by Ian Gavan/Getty Images