Mix It Up NYC with Don Q from Francine Cohen on Vimeo.

Leave it to DonQ rums (www.donq.com) to hold their cocktail competition in a space (almost) nobody had seen before, revealing the country’s best rum cocktails that (almost) nobody had tasted before in New York.

Though New York City’s fire department officially frowns on Albert Trummer’s pyrotechnic show at his Chinatown cocktail den, Apotheke, thankfully they were nowhere to be found on May 17th during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (www.manhattancocktailclassic.com) as the judges for the DonQ cocktail competition’s US finals dodged workmen busily putting the finishing touches to Trummer’s latest venture, Theater Bar.

After an hour or so of ducking out of the way as wallpaper was smoothed and lighting fixtures affixed to the wall, a sneak peak taste of the soon to be released Blackbeard Spiced Rum was shared before the taste tests began.

15 cocktails were sipped and assessed; each featuring DonQ Rum. The competitors were evaluated on their use of the spirit, drink flavor, and presentation by judges Tony Abou Ganim, Francine Cohen, James Menite and Albert Trummer. The prize? Five winners were to head to Puerto Rico in June to represent the United States in a cocktail throw down against the Puerto Rican team.

The fabulous five selected to represent the United States: Tony Devencenzi of San Francisco; Noah Heaney of Denver, CO; Charles Joly of Chicago; Brian Matthys of New York City; Darren West of Las Vegas.

Ultimately, the overall competition winner was from Puerto Rico, Hiram Avila.

By Hiram Avila of Puerto Rico

½ oz. DonQ Cristal rum
½ oz. DonQ Añejo rum
½ oz. DonQ Coco rum
½ oz. Monin ginger syrup
1 oz. Fresh cucumber juice

In a cocktail shaker, add rums, ginger syrup, fresh cucumber juice and ice.
Shake vigorously and strain over martini glass.

Garnish with cucumber slice and a sprinkle of sparkly sugar.

To make cucumber juice, use 2 cucumbers and a juicer. If a juicer is not available, add 2 unpeeled cucumbers and ¼ oz. of water to a blender. Blend on high speed and strain mixture.