Bartenders from across Liverpool will be channelling their inner Tom Cruise at The Liverpool Food and Drink Festival this weekend, as the event’s Cocktail Competition makes a popular return.

The Liverpool Food and Drink Festival is an annual large-scale event, now in its ninth year. Attracting food lovers from across the North West, it saw over 45,000 visitors descend on its home in Sefton Park in 2015.

As part of the event, bartenders from across the city are being invited to compete against each other in a challenge to create utterly unique cocktails using Matugga Rum as the key ingredient.

Competing bars confirmed for the competition include include Red Door, Salt Dog Slims, The Alchemist, 23 Fleet Street, Smugglers Cove, Moloko, Sound Food and Drink, Some Place and Brass Monkey.

In a series of 8 rounds over the two days of the festival, on this Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th September, visitors can watch some of the city’s most creative talents in action, flaring, shaking, mixing and pouring their creations in the hope of being crowned festival competition winner by master bartender Mark Lloyd, ambassador for Matugga Rum.

Matugga Rum is a craft British Rum, distilled in Cambridgeshire from East African sugarcane molasses and launched in 2015 by husband and wife team Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa.

Commenting on their involvement as sponsors of the festival’s Cocktail Competition, Paul Rutasikwa said:

“It’s great for Matugga Rum to make its debut at the festival in such a big way. We’ve spent a great deal of time in Liverpool over the past few years as we developed our craft rums, speaking to bar owners and customers. It’s city that truly loves its cocktails, and with the scale and reputation of the food and drink festival, it seemed like perfect opportunity for us to support the event.”

Festival Director Denise Harris added:

“The Cocktail Competition has always been one of our favourite parts of the festival. It’s fast and furious and lots and lots of fun. We’re thrilled to have a new brand involved with the event this year, as sponsor and we’re sure that visitors are going to enjoy watching the competition heats, cheering on their favourite bars.”

Tickets for the festival are now on sale and are available online along with more information at