House Hotel’s head cocktail bartender crowned Galway’s best

Aileen Cunningham of The House Hotel. Photo: Boyd Challenger.

Aileen Cunningham of The House Hotel. Photo: Boyd Challenger.

The House Hotel’s head cocktail bartender, Aileen Cunningham, has beaten off stiff competition to win a trip to Havana, Cuba, next year after being selected as Galway’s best.

Havana Club International brand ambassador Anabel Hernandez Gomez from Havana, Cuba, conducted a masterclass session in Galway last week where The House Hotel’s Aileen Cunningham put in an impressive performance to be selected as the overall winner.

The afternoon consisted of an education session, followed by a tasting, and a detailed written exam. Ms Hernandez Gomez was accompanied on the day by Barbaro Giraldes Portieles, a Cuban cocktail cantinero, who prepared a selection of authentic cocktails using Havana Club rums.

Head cocktail bartender Aileen Cunningham said she is thrilled at the opportunity. “It’s an absolute honour to be selected by Anabel and Barbaro. I am so excited about my trip to Cuba and looking forward to learning even more about the culture and history of Havana rum.”    

She will go to Cuba next year along with four other Irish bartenders for an all-expenses paid trip. The win has inspired Aileen’s new cocktail menus which will be launched the first week in October. The new cocktail menu will have some old favourites along with some new creations designed by Aileen Cunningham and her team in The House cocktail bar.

Over the coming weeks she will be trialling some of her new creations on Fabulous Fridays and on Saturday cocktail specials.

The House Hotel, located in Galway’s Latin Quarter, is home to Galway’s best cocktails. With live entertainment, late bar, and reserved areas available every weekend it really is the place to party.

The four star boutique hotel, who hosted The Duchess of Cornwall in May this year, represented Galway at the annual British Ambassador’s summer party just last week. The event, a highlight on the Dublin social calendar, was attended by 1,500 people who each had the chance to taste The Duchess cocktail, which was specifically created in honour of the Duchess’ visit to The House.

The cocktail, which Camilla personally tasted during her visit to Galway, is a delicate blend of Dingle gin, Mumm Champagne, elderflower liqueur along with lemon scented dusting, and ice cubes infused with rosemary, orange, lemon, and lime zest. It was described by The Duchess of Cornwall as being "quite innocuous" and "packs a bit of a punch. You'll need to sip it slowly as it is deceptively strong. Delicious though!"

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