A twist on a classic Martini using a salt and earth syrup helped to earn Sigrid Ehm (pictured) from Austria the title of Bombay Sapphire’s world’s most imaginative bartender.
She triumphed in London at the global final of the competition which featured a series of challenges over the course of a week, taking them to Spain and the UK.
Her cocktail, El Diamente (pictured below), was inspired by new-found knowledge acquired on the trip. It is made by combining Bombay Sapphire with a lemon and cherry-infused Noilly Prat vermouth plus her own salt and earth syrup, stirred and strained into a cocktail glass.
Sigrid, who works at Hammond bar in Vienna, was a wildcard winner, selected from bartenders who entered online. She faced seven other bartenders who won national heats in their own countries including Dan Berger of Heddon Street Kitchen in London.
Now in its fourth year, Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition asked bartenders to draw on their knowledge and imagination to craft their own cocktail recipe with Bombay Sapphire, inspired by “sublime beauty”.
Bombay Sapphire global brand ambassador Raj Nagra, who hosted the competition, said: “Our aim for the competition this year is to enable finalists to discover sublime beauty in the everyday and express that new-found knowledge through the art of mixology.”
The eight global finalists started their week-long trip in Madrid, exploring its culture, history and gastronomy, and then travelled to Murcia to the fields where two of Bombay’s Sapphire’s botanicals – almonds and lemons – are produced. They travelled to the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire and then presented their original cocktail at a grand final in Shoreditch, east London.
Raj added: “We’ve explored the cosmopolitan vivacity of Madrid, the rich groves of Murcia and the most magnificent parts of England, to understand first-hand how our exotic gin is made.”
Each finalist created a cocktail using Bombay Sapphire which was judged by a panel of industry experts including: Peter Dorelli, formerly head bartender at The Savoy in London; bartender Julie Reiner, owner of Manhattan’s Flatiron Lounge and Brooklyn’s Clover Club; Nik Fordham, master distiller for Bombay Sapphire; and last year’s global winner, Rémy Savage of The Little Red Door in Paris.
Sigrid will receive a place in the Cocktail Hall of Fame in the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstoke Mill and be given “an exclusive experience based on creation, growth and discovery”, which will include the opportunity to work with Nik to create her own personalised expression of gin.
Sigrid said: “I’m ecstatic that my salt of the earth cocktail has won me the title of Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender. It is truly an honour to be the first female winner of such a prestigious competition and I’m thrilled at the prospect of creating my own expression of gin at Laverstoke Mill.”
Valerie Brass, Bombay Sapphire global brand director for gin, said: “Now in its fourth year, the competition has created a platform for Bombay Sapphire to celebrate 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.”