Belfast bartender serves up a winner in prestigious cocktail competition

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The head bartender of Rattlebag in Belfast’s Bullitt hotel has been named the Irish champion of the Campari Red Hands cocktail competition in Cork

The head bartender of Rattlebag, the popular speakeasy style cocktail bar in Belfast’s Bullitt hotel, has been named the Irish champion of the Campari Red Hands cocktail competition in Cork.

Matt Knight’s winning cocktail stunned the judges at the competition with its elegant simplicity. The talented mixologist took inspiration from the Venetian classic cocktail, the Sgroppino, a frozen cocktail incorporating sorbet, prosecco and vodka and raised the bar by embodying the idea of aperitivo.

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Incorporating three simple ingredients; watermelon sorbet, orange blossom tonic and bitter red Campari, Matt’s creation paid homage to the classic Negroni, whilst adding a contemporary twist to produce a true aperitivo icon.

Alongside the coveted title, Matt won a €1,000 cash prize and earned an all-expense-paid trip to mix it up with some of the best stirrers and shakers to compete for the overall Campari Red Hand 2024 title at the grand final in London.

The winner crowned in London will walk away with a Campari brand immersion trip to Milan with the Campari brand ambassador.

The Campari Red Hands cocktail competition runs annually in the search for vibrant personalities with an unwavering passion for pushing boundaries to create extraordinary cocktails.

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Matt Knight’s winning cocktail stunned the judges at the competition with its elegant simplicity. The talented mixologist took inspiration from the Venetian classic cocktail, the Sgroppino, a frozen cocktail incorporating sorbet, prosecco and vodka and raised the bar by embodying the idea of aperitivo. Credit: Rachel Taylor, Taylored CollectiveMatt Knight’s winning cocktail stunned the judges at the competition with its elegant simplicity. The talented mixologist took inspiration from the Venetian classic cocktail, the Sgroppino, a frozen cocktail incorporating sorbet, prosecco and vodka and raised the bar by embodying the idea of aperitivo. Credit: Rachel Taylor, Taylored Collective
Matt Knight’s winning cocktail stunned the judges at the competition with its elegant simplicity. The talented mixologist took inspiration from the Venetian classic cocktail, the Sgroppino, a frozen cocktail incorporating sorbet, prosecco and vodka and raised the bar by embodying the idea of aperitivo. Credit: Rachel Taylor, Taylored Collective

This year, the Campari Red Hands competition was inspired by the timeless legacy of the Negroni. The judges were looking for cocktails created in the spirit of the Negroni’s heritage but transcending the boundaries of tradition, redefining what an Aperitivo can be while still embodying the essence of a Negroni.

Matt Knight, head bartender at Rattlebag, said: “Winning the Campari Red Hands Ireland Competition in Cork was a fantastic experience, and I’m very much looking forward to competing in the global final in London in October.

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Rattlebag, and by taking part in competitions like Campari Red Hands, we’re provided with a platform to challenge our creativity, explore new techniques and ultimately help further elevate the quality of our drinks program in the bar.”

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