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AGCC 2020 SA National winning cocktail by Leighton Rathbone, Trinidad Breeze

Leighton Rathbone Wins Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge 2020 SA

Ace bartender Leighton Rathbone of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium took home the title of Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2020 SA National champion in November 2019 when he made two cocktails of his own creation in just seven minutes, featuring ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, Amaro di ANGOSTURA® and Angostura® 5 Year Old Rum.

Rum-inspired Trinidad Breeze


–        37ml Angostura® 5 Year Old Rum

–        ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters   

–        12ml Fresh Lime Juice                                

–        25ml Cranberry Juice                                 

–        25ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice                                  

–        12ml Roast Red Pepper Syrup

–        Coriander leaves

–        Grapefruit zest


Chill an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Shake together all liquid ingredients. Tip ice out of the Old Fashioned glass, add fresh ice and strain cocktail over. Garnish with ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters-soaked coriander leaves and grapefruit zest.

We were lucky enough to GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with Leighton Rathbone and asked him a few questions.


1. Well done on winning the national competition.

How did you come up with these recipes? What inspired them?

Thank you! I would say the main ingredients themselves (The Angostura 5 year old Rum & Amaro di Angostura) through tasting them over a period of a few days I tried to imagine what the blenders and distillers vision was, and incorporated that into my own ideas about the brand, the rum, a refreshing, fruit-laden Caribbean experience and the amaro, a hark back to Angostura’s European roots, overall both cocktails, in my mind, are the story of discovering this amazing new world of herbs, spices and beautiful scenery, as I imagine Dr. Siegert did back in his day.

2. What does this title mean to you as a bartender?

To be a bartender for me is akin to being an artist, I get to craft an experience for my guests, and there are few things as satisfying as a happy guest.

3. Will you be presenting the same recipes at the regional competition?

From what I understand yes, hopefully, I can make a few tweaks though!

4. What was the hardest part of the competition for you and why?

Finding my zone for the presentation, if I am not prepped mentally before I go on stage, it’s tough to recover from that, it’s a fine balance between remembering the topics you need to talk about, while still remaining candid and witty.  

5. What advice do you have for the upcoming bartenders out there?

Just keep at it, keep entering everything, and it’s not only about comps, go to events, support other bartenders, take notes, makes friends in your industry, 90% of bartenders (if not all) love nerding out over their craft, and will be happy to share their knowledge with you.

6. Do you think you have what it takes to win regionals and if your answer is yes, please explain?

Yes, I am very lucky to have so many experienced legends of the South African bartending community to call on for help and advice, even ones that have competed in AGCC before, so I’m pretty confident I can take the title. 

AGCC 2020 SA National Judges and Top Three
AGCC 2020 SA National Judges and Top Three

7. Name the funniest, saddest, happiest and most embarrassing moments you’ve either experienced yourself or been told by one of your customers over the years.

Being ginger has its fun, I was once asked by a more than middle-aged lady if the carpet matched the drapes, hahaha, well one thing I can confirm is my face went about as red as my beard! 

Another highlight must be a staff party at one of my old jobs, the resident casanova was well on his way to a blackout (which only made him more irresistible in his eyes) and got rejected by a rather attractive waitress, so he went to the bar, downed his beer, turned around and tried again, gotta love Dutch courage!

AGCC 2020 SA Top Three L-R Martin Strobos, Leighton Rathbone, Peter Lebese
AGCC 2020 SA Top Three L-R Martin Strobos, Leighton Rathbone, Peter Lebese

For more information on the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge visit www.AngosturaGlobalCocktailChallenge.com.

Follow Angostura South Africa on Facebook /Angostura South Africa and Instagram @AngosturaZA for updates.

For more information on Angostura bitters and cocktail recipes visit www.angosturabitters.com.



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