Marv Cunningham, from The Bahamas wins Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge in Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago, February 25, 2020 – Marv Cunningham, a bartender from The Bahamas has won the 10th Anniversary of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge (AGCC). Representing the Caribbean in the revered cocktail competition, Cunningham was crowned the champion after competing against eight bartenders from around the world in Trinidad & Tobago on February 22, 2020.

Rohan Massie from Hobart, Tasmania was placed second and Agung Satria, from Vietnam awarded third place.  Cunningham whose specialty is culinary cocktails also received an award for Best Rum Cocktail in the competition for ‘Mas-Curried’ and Massie picked up the Best Amaro Cocktail Award for ‘Hidden Perfection’.

Marv Cunningham from Aura Nightclub Atlantis Group in the Bahamas has been bartending for over 20 years and is two-time winner of Taste of the Caribbean Best Caribbean Bartender award after defending his title in 2016 before returning to judge the competition in 2017.

Cunningham has been awarded a cash prize of US$10,000 and two-year contract as the Angostura® Global Brand Ambassador for ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, ANGOSTURA® orange bitters, Angostura® Rums and Amaro di ANGOSTURA®, and will return to Trinidad & Tobago to serve as a judge in the next AGCC Global finals.

Cunningham navigated the rigorous competition, which included an interview and challenge to create two cocktails in seven minutes whilst demonstrating his knowledge of the brand and category, entertaining the competition’s judges including James Beard Award-winning beverage professional, Maxwell Britten, Christopher ‘Jillionaire’ Leacock, , Eryn Reece, Bar Director at Banzarbar, Angostura® Chief Brand Educator, Raymond Edwards, and the 2018 Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge winner, Raymond Letoa.

Cunningham’s winning rum cocktail ‘Mas Curried’ captures one of the most iconic Trini flavours – curry – combines it with cauliflower and showcases how it can complement the flavour profile of the iconic Angostura® 7 Year Old Rum, with its rich maple, chocolate, honey and toffee notes.

Massie’s winning Amaro cocktail demonstrated his finely-honed technique and precisely combined Amaro di Angostura® with banana wine, beetroot soda, a parsley tincture and ANGOSTURA® orange bitters.

Commenting on the win, Marv Cunningham, Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge Champion 2020, said: “I am thankful for the opportunity presented by the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge. To be honoured by such an esteemed judges panel against the top global competitors feels surreal! I’m excited to travel the world with Angostura and share Caribbean culinary cocktail concepts and the flavours of these islands with others. Serving as Global Brand Ambassador is my dream job.”

Explaining what set Marv Cunningham apart, head judge, Maxwell Britten comments: “Marv has the overall package and an incredible amount to contribute to Angostura. He demonstrated dedication to his craft, outstanding storytelling capabilities, a personal magnetism and a heart-warming humility. He has a culinary sensibility that is increasingly important both in today’s cocktail world and also in food preparation, as I’ve seen demonstrated here in Trinidad, Angostura bitters add the same magic to a dish as it does to a drink. His rum cocktail was probably the most unusual of the competition, I’d never considered adding cauliflower to a cocktail, but it really works.”

The AGCC took place ahead of the greatest show on earth, Trinidad & Tobago Carnival. The eight finalists competing alongside Agung were Shana Rajahram (Trinidad & Tobago), Marv Cunningham  (The Bahamas), Chad Lawrence (Canada), Gustavo Costa (Brazil), Mike Jordhoy (France), Simon Dacey (United Kingdom), Vasile Dorofeev (Dubai) and Rohan Massie (Australia).

Peter Sandström, CEO of Angostura®, comments: “The work every single competitor put in today should be commended. They’ve invested so much time and effort into understanding our rich heritage and deconstructing the flavours of our ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, ANGOSTURA orange bitters, rum and amaro portfolio. Marv was superb and we’re proud to have him share his passion for Angostura® with the world over the next two years. He’ll have plenty of work ahead as we look to roll out new flavour innovations and premiumise the rum category”.


We spoke to Ray Letoa, global winner and Dan Gregory, Australian winner of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge about what life’s been like since winning two years ago. For each of them, it meant taking on an Angostura brand ambassador role, so we asked them to shed some light on what the job entails.

How do you think winning helped your career?

DG: It’s one of those competitions that gives you a good profile straight up. You make so many connections along the way and it opens up loads of avenues. You get noticed fast and quickly become a recognised face.

With that higher profile, your chances of working at bars you’ve always wanted to are greater, both here and overseas. For me personally, it really helped to keep me relevant after moving to Hobart.

RL: It’s thrown my name internationally in ways I couldn’t have achieved myself. It’s opened networks and talking channels to high profile individuals in the industry who I could imagine are inundated with requests.

In my own town and community, it’s encouraged many to respect hospitality as a valid career choice rather than an ‘in-between job’. It’s offered many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and collaborations which have now become highlights in my life.

What’s it like being the Angostura Brand Ambassador?

DG: It’s great fun. There are a lot of events and there’s a heap of travel. You meet a lot of new people and get to catch up with old friends.

But it’s hard work too. You can be on the road for two weeks at a time and that means you need to have a boss that’s understanding if you’re working for a bar at the same time. It’s a great intro into what it’s like to be a brand ambassador if you’re considering being one full time in the future.

 RL: Being the Global Brand Ambassador for the House of Angostura is a literal dream come true. I get to work for a brand I truly love and respect and that makes every day delicious. I ask myself when I do presentations and guests shifts using our beautiful products, ‘Is this really work?’. I LOVE THIS OPPORTUNITY.

I’ve been to places I had only heard of and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to say ‘I’ve been there’.

I’ve been exposed to the different styles and approaches different countries take; I’ve seen the produce they have access to and how countries incorporate their culture into bartending. I’ve found the language barriers in many countries challenging, but those barriers were quickly broken down as soon as we started making drinks and we all understood one another.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a brand ambassador?

DG: It’s not for everyone. Prepare for a lot of travel. You need to be comfortable talking to crowds of people and teaching them about the brand.

You’re representing a brand so you have to completely immerse yourself in the history of that brand and the category as a whole. You need to be passionate about what you’re promoting. You need to live and breathe the brand; don’t do it if you don’t believe in it 100%.

You need to be good at social media and promoting yourself.

But most of all you need to be a decent bartender, so get as much experience as you can now to build your knowledge-base for later.

RL: As a brand ambassador you’re effectively representing a brand so you have to carry yourself professionally in all you say and do publicly.

You have to really love the brand. Don’t just take the opportunity for the title, but rather for the passion of the responsibility. Become a Brand Ambassador for a brand you genuinely love because you can’t get away with faking it.

When you’re an ambassador, you’re teaching bartenders in presentations and masterclasses or at events, so you’re behind the bar less and less. You have to be prepared for that.

Overall, I believe the best ambassadors are also great bartenders, as they can relate and can talk the talk as well as walk the walk.

What would you say to anyone thinking of entering this year?

RL: I would say, STOP THINKING AND DO IT. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the process. I’m asked nearly every day by bartenders globally if I think they are ready to enter and I answer that being ready comes from confidence and confidence comes from experience and experience is the result of taking that first step of entering.

I’m always a message away for any questions and queries and will happily support all who are nervous. Whether it’s a bartender’s first cocktail competition or they’ve competed in many, I’m here for anyone entering that needs support every step of the way.

You can contact Ray at or on Facebook.

Entries for the ANZ regional final of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge are open now.

Visit to enter.


Important dates

  • Entries close – 18 August
  • Top six ANZ finalists announced – 26 August
  • ANZ regional final – 16 September (Official Bar Week Event)
  • Global final in Trinidad – February 2020