Hannah Van Ongevalle, the written word challenge of the Diageo World Class Global Finals

Right at this very moment, Hannah – our Belgian contestant and among the 16 final contestants in the competition – is presenting her Written Word challenge on the most famous of all cocktail competitions: Diageo World Class. Frankly it is very hard for me to write any words at all, because I am baffled. I think that’s the right word for it. The challenge was to create 2 cocktails inspired by famous writers, both nationally and internationally.

Hannah getting ready for the 5 star challenge at the Savoy, this morning. Being the first woman since Ada Cole to shake behind the bar.
Hannah getting ready for the 5 star challenge at the Savoy, this morning. Being the first woman since Ada Cole to shake behind the bar.

Jokingly she announced that she would dedicate her first cocktail to Ernest Hemingway. “But no,” she said, “that would be too obvious”. She chose David Wondrich, famous cocktail writer and blogger for Esquire magazine. Inspired by him Hannah created a cocktail based on bourbon, cognac, Benedictine and lapsang syrup. For the second cocktail she was inspired by … well … me. I assure you, your knees get all wobbly when you hear that. It is too much of an honour. Personally I don’t think that I deserve to be named next to Wondrich or any other famous writer. But hey, it’s kinda nice when it does happen, *cough, cough*. I am a whisky man, she said, and that’s true – points for that. But she put some Mexico in this cocktail. I got softened down with so called ‘lady-sherry’, which I don’t mind and was graced with some lapsang syrup too. The cocktail is named the Edison Revived, after a band called Combustible Edison, that inspired me to name this blog: The Cocktail Nation. The Cocktail Nation is the title of a manifest written by the bandleader.

Hannah, you don’t need to be afraid of bloggers. We love you, especially being chosen over Hemingway. You just keep fishing old man.

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