Adrián Subirana (pictured) from Sway Bar in London took the coveted first prize at Novus’ annual Bartender of the Year Awards, held on Tuesday at Gem Bar in London.
This is the second year Novus has held the competition. Following its success in 2017, the company opened up the field to all employees, resulting in 300 entrants from the Novus estate, including bar tenders, bar managers and even general managers.
The competition takes a year to complete, with 12 heats to find the quarter finalists before the grand final. Rounds for 2018 included making a classic cocktail four times to assess the contestants’ ability to produce cocktails to perfect specification.
There was also a mystery box round, with competitors given ten surprise ingredients, including cookies and pineapple jam, with just 10 minutes to consider how the flavours could be combined to create a cocktail using spirits and juices on the bar.
Novus’ Bartender of the Year 2018 competition was sponsored by Russian Standard, with one of the rounds requiring bar tenders to create a new cocktail based on Russian Standard Vodka.
Adrián’s winning Russian Standard showstopper ‘Russian Secret’ will be available across the entire Novus estate at the next menu refresh.
Four finalists competed this week. Each received £750 for winning their quarter final and an engraved magnum of Russian Standard Vodka. The winner received £4,000 and the Russian Standard prize.
Novus CEO Toby Smith chaired the judging panel, sitting alongside Jordan Kemp of William Grant and Sons, Roust MD Jonathan Ashworth, Adrian Taylor, Head of Trade for Roust, and Zoë Fryday, editor of Bar magazine.
Toby said: “We are so proud of our teams’ performances throughout this contest. The competitors’ achievements were bigger and better than ever before, with finalists involving their entire venue teams to create an incredible show.
“The competition marks our continued drive to make bartending a career of choice. Congratulations to the finalists for an incredible competition.”
The competition will return in 2019.