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Alicia Clarke talks competition winning cocktails

The first-ever Aussie Pisco Chilcano Competition was created by PROMPERÚ, the Commission for the Promotion of Peruvian Exports and Tourism, in partnership with four of Peru’s leading Pisco distillers Pucara Pisco, Pisco Del Parral, Pisco De Carral, and Barsol Pisco.

The winner was Alicia Clarke from Double Deuce Lounge in Sydney, whose creation – the Queensland Yacht Club – impressed the judges by both showcasing the Pisco and classic Australian ingredients in one delicious drink.

Clarke’s creation gives a refreshing Australian twist to the Chilcano with the Pisco being complemented by the use of a tropical mango and pineapple cordial and Stone’s Ginger Wine, and she explained to Bars and Clubs the inspiration behind the cocktail and the elements and flavours she wanted to highlight.

“The brief of the cocktail competition was to put an Australian twist on the classic Pisco cocktail; The Chilcano, which is Pisco accompanied by the refreshing combination of ginger, lime and some bitters,” Clarke said.

“I wanted to put a fun but simple and accessible twist on this by using tropical fruits and a beloved Australian ingredient, Stone’s Ginger Wine.”

She added: “I wanted to put a focus on the fruits and wine, whilst not drawing the attention away from the hero spirit.

“Mango and Pineapple have always been an obvious choice for me, and the fact that they go so well with Pisco was a win/win.”

The idea behind the competition was to showcase the versatility of the ‘Spirit of Peru’ for use in a wide array of cocktails, and its ability to complement the unique flavours of quintessential Australian ingredients.

Clarke explained to Bars and Clubs what she likes about Pisco, saying: “First and foremost, it’s versatility. I know everyone says this, but it’s for a good reason.

“It’s an unexpected and underrated spirit, and its ability to compliment such a wide array of flavours makes it an easy choice when working with it behind the bar.

“And secondly, it makes people very happy after a glass or two.”

Clarke was awarded $1500 cash for the win, plus 24 bottles of premium Pisco for the Double Deuce Lounge. She has the opportunity to showcase their original Chilcano creation in a virtual cocktail making event for media and the public next week, and she said while the win was unexpected, she is obviously delighted.

“The win has definitely given me a big boost of confidence behind the bar, and after moving to Sydney 16 months ago to further my bartending career, I felt a great sense of accomplishment knowing that I was doing something about it.

“And I won’t lie, the surprise was nice. The support I’ve felt from friends and the people in the bartending community has been amazing.”

She added: “The supply of Pisco coming in to the bar will definitely get our brains going; there’s so many possibilities so lots to play with.”

Clarke’s competition winning cocktail will be available at Double Deuce as a special for the next few weeks.

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