Appleton Estate, the bestselling Jamaica Rum, has today announced the return of its legendary nationwide mixology competition – newly named, Journey to Joy.

The prestigious mixology competition will champion the authentic and colourful spirit of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, re-launching with particular focus on the versatile, multi-award winning, Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve rum and its signature serve – the Mai Tai. With premium rum experiencing a resurgence, rising to be the second fastest growing spirits category in 2022, Journey to Joy offers bartenders an unparalleled opportunity to showcase the spirit’s versatility and put their creativity in the spotlight.

The competition is open to applicants from across the On-Trade, with participants asked to submit two serves that demonstrate both their inventiveness and understanding of the deep versatility of Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve. The first drink is a simple serve: Appleton Estate rum paired with one ingredient and one garnish, while the second drink is a cocktail inspired by the Mai Tai - which, when invented in 1944, was originally made with Appleton Estate 17 Year Old rum - inviting the nation’s bartending talent to get creative with a classic. However, creativity is not the only skill entrants will need to demonstrate; all-round aptitudes from presentation to storytelling, as well as educating consumers on the Mai Tai with Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum at its heart, must also be on display.

As part of the journey, and to help entrants familiarise themselves with its portfolio of rums, Appleton Estate will host seven Rum Roadshows throughout June - six in person across the country and one virtually. Led by brand ambassador Chris Dennis, these roadshows will offer the opportunity to taste and learn about several Appleton Estate expressions, helping potential entrants to understand the complexity of these rums ahead of their submissions.

Entries are open until 30 June 2022, with a series of regional shortlists announced following. There will be four regional heats – North, Central, South and London – where the top eight qualifiers from each region will be invited to showcase their flair for rum-based serves, tasked with producing their two serves in just eight minutes and then presenting their creations to an esteemed panel of judges.

The winner from each heat will progress to the national grand final in London on 09 November. In a slight twist to the journey, world-renowned Master Blender Joy Spence will choose one ‘Wild Card’ entrant from each of the regional heats to also appear at the finals, bringing the total to eight competitors – apt given the competition celebrates Appleton Estate 8 Year Old Reserve.

Judged by a panel of experts including Chris Dennis, Campari Group UK’s Rum and Whiskies Ambassador, and Hamish Smith, Editor of CLASS Magazine, the winning entrant will receive the prize of a once in a lifetime trip to Jamaica for two – including the opportunity to visit the famous Appleton Estate, guided by Joy Spence herself.

Chris Dennis, Rum and Whiskies Ambassador, Campari Group UK said: “Rum is fast becoming the drink of the moment, with premium rums such as Appleton Estate helping to drive momentum, leading to premium rum growing its share of the category by 6.1% vs 20193. Rum’s smooth versatility lends itself perfectly to cocktails as well as being sipped neat. With rum featuring in five of the top 20 cocktails across the UK On-Trade4, and a growing cocktail movement across the UK, now is the perfect moment to celebrate Appleton Estate’s role in defining such a classic cocktail as the Mai Tai, while also looking to future interpretations with the same outstanding rum at their hearts. I am excited to see what the best minds in the nation’s bars create in response to our competition brief.”

Chris adds: “From our roadshows to an in-venue helping hand, we have a range of support for entrants looking to boost their submissions. This goes as far as access to branded POS, overlay menu creation and a limited number of professional photoshoot spots, so you can get the best content of your serve to give in-venue activations a head start. For us, this competition is about celebrating the nation’s mixology talent – but it’s also a chance to educate rum drinkers up and down the country, inspiring them to premiumise their rum experience with Appleton Estate and enjoy the rich, versatile liquid of its 8 Year Old Reserve.” For more information, or to enter, visit here.