“It was quite hot on stage”, Marian Krause told us right after competing at the 2016 Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix. We don’t think it fazed him: he finished third and didn’t even look relieved it was finally over. You see, he was the first competitor to qualify for the global event (a full calendar year before!). Lesser bartenders would have cracked under pressure that had built up over the months. Not Marian. The bartender and consultant from Cologne quite clearly considered the long wait was actually an opportunity: “It was great, because it allowed me to really think about what I wanted to do. I also really enjoyed that I got to be involved with the organization of the 2016 Academia del Ron, where the other German finalist was picked”. The twelve months also provided the perfect opportunity to check out the other competitors’ pedigree – one’s never too careful!
Of course, once in Cuba, the best laid plans tend to go awry. As you know, the Grand Prix’s the biggest mystery box competition in the world – and Cuban markets do not quite look like German ones… “When you’re on the market, you only have twenty minutes to think and collect all the ingredients. It’s like poker”. Which is why when it was confirmed he made it to the last 13, he decided not to change his drink: “If you have a good drink, stick with it”.
And the Cuban Circle was quite clearly a great drink (you don’t get to third in a competition that is all about what’s in the glass with a crap cocktail). “It was basically based on Havana Club 7 años. I balanced it with fresh lime juice and homemade coffee honey, some celery leaves, and a vino seco, a wine made from grapes and fruits, to add a bit of sourness to the drink”. He still made adjustments between the semi and the final: “I changed the balance a little bit, it was slightly more sour and I also wanted it to be stronger, because I was the fourth competitor and I wanted to leave an impression”.
As you can see, Marian’s quite analytical about what he does. But Cuba’s a country for emotions too, and he calls the trip one of his best experiences. “I had already visited in 2011, but to be here with so many great bartenders is a completely different experience. And finishing third in a global competition is amazing. I also stayed for another week after the Grand Prix, and I had the chance to discover the countryside and see how Cuban live in small villages. Coming back to Germany was a complete shock, let me tell you that…”
Marian’s Grand Prix performance did not go unnoticed and he has been asked by many bar owners to help them grow their business. His own company, Shake Kings, is even hiring its first employee! But that really is the least of it: he recently scored his biggest win when a became a father. What a year! So if you’re in Berlin next week, go and congratulate him: he’ll be mixing Hemingway Daiquiris at the Havana Club booth at Bar Convent.
50ml Havana Club 7 Años
10ml fresh lime juice
15ml dry white wine
25ml homemade coffee honey
3 leaves of celery
To make the coffee honey, mix four parts honey to one part cold brew coffee and add a pinch of salt.
Add all the ingredients into a shaker, add ice, shake, double strain and serve in a coupette glass. Garnish with lemon leave, lime twist and a small flower.