At the Grand Finale in London, he won an all-expenses-paid trip to one of Beefeater’s key global markets to experience the local bartending culture.
Jason beat 25 finalists with his Werewolves of London cocktail, which combined Beefeater 24 with orange and peach liqueur, lemon juice and frankincense bitters, finished off with a green tea mist.
This year’s judging panel included Jim Meehan of New York City bar PDT, bartender Tony Conigliaro of London bars 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse, drinks writer Lucy Britner, food writer Chris Hirst, Ian Rudge, head chef of London restaurant The Rib Room, and Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne.
For the final, the bartenders began by presenting their signature Beefeater cocktails to the panel before having their creativity put to the test in a surprise food pairing round. The finalists included UK winner Scott Mitchell of The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh.
The judges then selected eight overall finalists to go through to the final round. Along with Jason, they were Miloš Danihelka of Anonymous Bar in Prague, Jani-Pekka Hiltunen of Boulevard Social in Helsinki, Finland, Mido Ahmed Yahi of Le Café Moderne in Paris, Konstantinos Kapniaris of Habar and Rumors in Thessaloniki, Greece, Darren Geraghty of Indie Dhaba in Dublin, Truls Thomsen of Newsman in Stavanger, Norway, and Andrea Patelli of Little Quarter in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Grand Finale was held in London at 9 Grosvenor Place where guests including other bartenders and drinks writers voted on their favourite cocktail. The overall scores from all three rounds were calibrated to help decide the winner.
The competition attracted more entrants than ever before, with 26 countries taking part including Hong Kong, the USA, Japan and the UK – almost double the number of countries participating in 2012.
Jason, who has previously won Australian Bartender of the Year, said: “I am a huge fan of London gin and, for me, no other gin represents the true London gin style better than Beefeater, so winning this competition is a huge honour and a massive surprise for me.
“I’ve had a great time taking part in the competition. There was a great sense of camaraderie amongst all the competitors and the diversity of the various rounds was fantastic, allowing us to really show off our creativity and the different skills that bartenders need to have to be at the top of the game.
“Gin is definitely on the rise in Australia, so I’m looking forward to flying the flag for gin even more when I get home.”
JC Iglesias, global brand director for Beefeater 24, said: “We were really impressed by the variety and originality of the cocktails showcased by all the competitors in this year’s final.
“The success of this year’s competition has further reinforced Beefeater 24’s links with the on-trade and we hope to continue to inspire bartenders across the world to embrace their creativity and develop their skills in mixology.”
The final took place at the end of a three-day trip to London where the finalists were immersed in the London cocktail scene, enjoying some of its best bars, touring the Beefeater Distillery in Kennington and visiting the TeaSmith Tea Bar.
Jason Williams is pictured at the Grand Finale with Beefeater 24 brand ambassadors Tim Stones and Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge and Desmond Payne
Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition finalists
Australia – Jason Williams, The Rook, Sydney
Austria – Florian Wisata, Hemingway Bar, Ried im Innkreis
Belgium – Barbara Simmi, Amigo Rocco Forte, Brussells
Canada – Robin Kaufman, Instructor at Toronto Institute of Bartending
Colombia – Joshua Gurrero Hoyos, Restaurante NoNo
Czech Republic – Miloš Danihelka, Anonymous Bar, Prague
Denmark – Hardeep Rehal, 1105
Estonia – Gerda Viks, Volga 7, Tartu
Finland – Jani-Pekka Hiltunen, Boulevard Social
France – Mido Ahmed Yahi, Le Café Moderne
Germany – Frederick Knüll, Spirits
Greece – Konstantinos Kapniaris, Habar; Rumors
Hong Kong – Hiu Kwan Cherry Lam, Quinary, Hong Kong
Ireland – Darren Geraghty, Indie Dhaba
Italy – Idris Conti, Luca e Andrea Café-Bar, Milan
Japan – Shoki Sato, Bar Beso
South Korea – Suk Ho SON, Coffee Bark Hannam
Norway – Truls Thomsen, Newsman
Poland – Jakub Kozlowski, Colombia
Portugal – Miguel Belo
Serbia – Marko Skerovic, Teressa Lounge and Bartenders710, Serbia
Slovakia – Marcoš Dzurus,Cuba Libre
Sweden – Andrea Patelli, Little Quarter
Switzerland – Nicholas Berger, Chat Noir Club, Geneva
UK – Scott Mitchell, Bon Vivant, Edinburgh
USA – Ian Cox, Wrecking Bar, Atlanta
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