The Winner of Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Competition 2017

The finals of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Competition 2017 were held yesterday at The Forgotten Cask rum bar in Waterloo.

Chairman's Reserve Mai Tai Competition

Six finalists competed in front of a panel of judges, each creating a unique take on the classic Mai Tai using Chairman’s Reserve rum. Lachlan Gunner of Della Hyde in Darlinghurst was crowned Mai Tai Chairman 2017 winning a return trip to Bali including accommodation, 6 collectors’ bottles of 1931 by St Lucia limited edition 1 to 6 and the opportunity to become Chairman’s Brand Ambassador for Australia.  Mark Lovett from The Cuban Place came in second place followed by Aaron Michael of The Forgotten Cask in the third spot.

The judges were Michael Glaize, Caleb Mcgeachie, Tom Bulmer and Corinne Mossati (Cocktails & Bars).

Lachlan’s winning cocktail, The Dead Cherry Initiative was inspired by the art of method, trying new processes and ways of incorporating new and interesting flavours such as the use of dehydrating ingredients. He believes that a good starting point is to simplify the nomenclature behind the process, which is where the dead cherry initiative is inspired. “Using the term dead fruit instead of dehydrated fruit takes away some of the science behind the process that might scare the common consumer. It also infers the process itself is simpler and all around sounds more approachable,” Lachlan says.

The cocktail is described as “a fresh and uplifting inspiration on a classic Mai Tai utilising exotic Christmas spices found in Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum with traditional seasonal flavours of coconut and cherry.”

‘The Dead Cherry Initiative’ Cocktail Recipe

Recipe by Lachlan Gunner of Della Hyde, Darlinghurst


  • 45ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum
  • 3 muddled cherries
  • 10ml yellow Chartreuse
  • 10ml Tio Pepe fino sherry
  • 30ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20ml coco-orgeat blend*
  • 2 dashes of walnut bitters

Glassware: short glass
Garnish: dead cherry on a pick


In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients and muddle the cherries. Add ice and shake until cold. Double strain into a short glass and garnish with a dead cherry on a pick.

* The coco-orgeat blend is made by blending together Coco-Lopez cream of coconut with traditional orgeat syrup in a ratio of 1:1.

Photo Credit: Captar Photo, used with permission

The Winner of Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Competition 2017 was last modified: October 10th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.