iichiko, Japan’s leading shochu brand, announces the entry dates, guidelines, and judging panel of its “iichiko for the Win” U.S. Bartender Cocktail Competition (#iichikoforthewin). The competition is being managed by Davos Brands, which imports iichiko Saiten to the U.S. market. It is open to professional bartenders in North America. The submission period extends from January 21 to April 15, 2020, with favorite Olympics-sanctioned sports as the inspiration for the cocktails.
The competition’s six finalists will be announced in April and will compete at a Grand Finale event in New York City in May. The Grand Prize is an all-expenses paid trip for the winner and their guest to Tokyo and Kyushu Island, home of the iichiko distillery.
iichiko also announces the competition’s distinguished judging panel, comprised of (in alphabetical order): Jacques Bezuidenhout (Liquid Productions, NYC), Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco), Kenta Goto (Bar Goto, NYC), Julia Momose (Kumiko, Chicago) and Masahiro Urushido (Katana Kitten, NYC), together with Natasha Sophia (National Director of Education and Advocacy, Davos Brands).
“We are very proud that some of the most prominent mixologists in the U.S. will be part of our judging panel,” says Daniel Mandelbaum, VP of Marketing, Davos Brands. “Each of them has worked extensively with iichiko Saiten and is excited by its limitless potential for shaking up the U.S. cocktail scene. We are looking forward to the bartenders’ Olympics sanctioned submissions that will showcase iichiko Saiten’s incomparable versatility and umami notes.”
Competition Guidelines and Grand Prize
Eligible Entrants: Professional bartenders in North America, age 21+
Cocktail Inspiration: Favorite Olympics-sanctioned sport
Best showcasing of iichiko Saiten, with a minimum of 1.5 ounces used in the cocktail
Overall flavor and deliciousness
Reproducibility by home bartenders
Creativity and originality
Ingredients: Recipes may incorporate a maximum of 5 easily accessible ingredients, plus a garnish, to ensure reproducibility by home bartenders
Submission Period: January 21 to April 15, 2020
Finalists & Winner Announcements:Finalists announcement in April 2020
Grand Finale competition in New York in May 2020
Grand Prize winner announcement in May 2020
The Grand Prize: A week-long, all expenses paid trip for the winner and their guest to Tokyo and Kyushu Island
Tasting Notes on iichiko Saiten
On the nose, iichiko Saiten is redolent with aromas of honeydew melon, white grape, pickled watermelon rind and kabosu citrus. There are also hints of soy, white pepper and rich barley. On the palate, iichiko Saiten has a strong start and a long finish. It exudes rich umami notes of jasmine tea, white peach, minerals and earth with some citrus and a saline finish that beckons another sip.
A Genuinely Innovative Spirit with Umami Character
iichiko Saiten (SRP $29.99/43% ABV/750ml) was developed with insights from top U.S. bartenders. It is a pioneering higher proof shochu optimized for mixology and is comparable in proof to Western spirits, like vodka, tequila, gin and rum. Traditionally, shochu is bottled at around 25% ABV.
Produced on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island, iichiko Saiten is rich in flavor and umami character, captivating the vanguard of U.S. bartenders and enabling genuinely innovative cocktails. It is produced by Sanwa Shurui, Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s most esteemed producers of shochu, sake and wine.
iichiko Saiten is a true honkaku shochu, which is distilled only once, and no artificial additives or sweeteners are permitted. Moreover, the single distillation better preserves the flavors created during fermentation, as opposed to multiple distillations that strip them out.