Rémy Savage (pictured) of France has won the title of world’s most imaginative bartender after winning a global final in London with a cocktail using a syrup made from paper.
He was one of 15 finalists in the competition for Bombay Sapphire gin which followed national heats around the world, including the UK where the winner was Richard Woods from Duck & Waffle in the City of London.
Rémy’s cocktail, Paper Anniversary, was inspired by a visit to the brand’s new distillery in Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire – developed on a site where the paper for banknotes for the Bank of England and other countries was once manufactured.
The drink features homemade paper syrup which provides a subtle scent of paper. It is mixed with just Bombay Sapphire and a salt solution.
Now in its third year, Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition challenged the global finalists to create a cocktail inspired by this year’s English locations.
The 15 bartenders spent six days in Hampshire and in London where they explored some of the world’s best bars and the city’s deep-rooted connections to the history of gin.
Raj Nagra, Bombay Sapphire’s global brand ambassador and host for the competition, said: “Our aim for this competition is to inspire creativity through mixology, not only within bartenders but by everyone that enjoys cocktail-making around the world.
“We’ve explored the most magnificent parts of England, understanding first hand how our exotic gin is made, whilst discovering the ‘hidden London’ keeping us enchanted by its cosmopolitan vibe and ever-changing landscape.”
This year, the judges included Jacob Briars, head of global advocacy and training at Bacardi, Ryan Chetiyawardana of London bars White Lyan and soon-to-open Dandelyan, and Alex Kratena, head bartender at the Artesian Bar at The Langham in London.
The bartenders reached the semi-final and final after fighting off a collective total of more than 3,500 entrants around the world.
Rémy, who works at Little Red Door in Paris, said: “This is a total surprise, and it feels amazing to be chosen as Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender 2014. I only enter competitions I feel passionate about, and this was a truly mind-blowing experience.
“I was inspired by the Commonwealth notes that were created at Laverstoke Mill all those years ago. I wanted to replicate the flavour of paper and celebrate the history of gin and I believe my cocktail is a delicious celebration of this.”
As the winner, Rémy will receive a place in the Cocktail Hall of Fame at the Laverstoke Mill distillery as well as a prize fund worth £10,000, including a pin made from the previous sapphire after which the gin is named.
He will also have the opportunity to attend any one of the world’s leading trade shows alongside Raj. As part of a partnership with Virgin Atlantic, the two will work together in creating a new signature cocktail that will feature on the airline’s Clubhouse menus in airports around the world.
It will be available for 12 months at London Heathrow and Gatwick, John F Kennedy and Newark in New York City, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington DC and Johannesburg.
Sarah Lyons, Bombay Sapphire’s global marketing executive, added: “In just three years, we’ve created a platform for celebrating innovative ways of cocktail making in the industry. Throughout this event each of the finalists has witnessed the real craftsmanship that Bombay Sapphire gin illustrates, travelling to the end of the earth to source each of our 10 exotic botanicals and the unique vapour-infusion distillation process.”
Paper Anniversary by Rémy Savage
45ml Bombay Sapphire gin
15ml Homemade paper syrup
1 dash of salt solution
Just stir and serve.
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