Bombay Sapphire names “most imaginative” bartender

Bombay Sapphire Worlds Most Imaginative BartendersMatteo Vanzi from Italy has been named as the winner of the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition.

He triumphed at the global final in Tuscany which saw him compete against bartenders from around the world including UK winner Joe Wild of Berry & Rye in Liverpool.

They were challenged to create a cocktail inspired by Tuscany, the home of the juniper berries used for Bombay Sapphire.

Matteo’s cocktail, The Pastorini (Perfect Lady), was a twist on a White Lady, made with Bombay Sapphire, a homemade shrub of a light jasmine green tea and pink grapefruit peel infusion and a juniper berry meringue.

The bartenders took part in a four-day event in and around Florence where they experienced the energy of the local markets, the smells of Tuscan food and the cultural sights and sounds of the region,

Matteo, who works at the Stravinskij Bar at Hotel de Russie in Rome, was chosen from 11 finalists from Europe, North America, South Africa and Asia.

Each bartender created a cocktail using Bombay Sapphire, judged by a panel of industry experts, including the winner of the inaugural Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition in 2012, David Wolowidnyk from Canada, as well as Florentine Negroni expert Luca Picchi and Hamish Smith, deputy editor of Drinks International.

Hosted at Il Salviatino, a 15th-century villa in the hills above Florence, it was compered by Bombay Sapphire global brand ambassador Raj Nagra.

Raj said: “By working with the most creative talent from behind the bar, the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition not only challenges these bartenders, but it also aims to support them on their journey to becoming the most imaginative bartenders in the world.”

Matteo received the competition trophy and has also been invited to be a judge at next year’s competition. He will also become the latest addition to the Bombay Sapphire Cocktail Hall of Fame which will involve him in activities such as attending the opening of the new Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire this year.

Matteo will also have an opportunity to work with Virgin Atlantic to create the airline’s new signature cocktail, which will feature as part of its Clubhouse2 menu.

Matteo said: “I had many experiences throughout the trip that sparked by imagination. However, it was the passion and love shown by the Pastorini family who harvest the juniper berries, one of the Bombay Sapphire botanicals, that gave me the inspiration for my cocktail and the theme of love.

“Tuscany is a very romantic region that combines the passion of Italian people like the Pastorinis, with history and style. The essence of these things helped me to create my winning cocktail.”

The competition is the latest activity to position the brand alongside creativity and innovation. Bombay Sapphire global category director John Burke said: “As a brand, we believe imagination makes the world a better place and are especially proud to champion the important role it plays in the creation of truly imaginative cocktail making.

“As each of the finalists has learned over the course of the event, imagination is core to the Bombay Sapphire gin brand, from the care taken in sourcing each of our exotic botanicals to the unique vapour-infusion distillation process and our iconic blue bottle. Our aim is to spark the imaginations of not just these finalists, but bartenders and gin-lovers worldwide.”

The Pastorini by Matteo Vanzi

50ml Bombay Sapphire gin
10ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur, infused with jasmine green tea and pink grapefruit peel
15ml Martini Bianco
20ml White balsamic vinegar with verbena and camomile
Homemade shrub
1tsp juniper berry meringue

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake, fine strain and serve in metal picnic mugs.

To make the homemade shrub: heat one cup of caster sugar and one cup of white balsamic vinegar to allow sugar to dissolve, and then filter.

To make the infusion, lightly infuse the 3 tbs of jasmine green tea and the peel of one pink grapefruit with 375ml of St-Germain in a Vienna coffee machine.

To make the juniper berry meringue, whisk 125g of egg white, 125g of caster sugar and five whole fine gounded juniper berries.

The other finalists were:

UK: Joe Wild, Berry & Rye, Liverpool
Austria: Markus Altrichter, Hammond Bar, Vienna
Canada: Franz Swinton, Cube Tasting Lounge, Calagry
Demark: Niklas Frank, The Union, Copenhagen
Germany: Mathias Noori, Roomers Bar, Frankfurt
Japan: Mai Seike, Cellar Bar, Rihga Royal Hotel, Tokyo
South Africa: Assaf Yechiel, Orphanage cocktail bar, Cape Town
Spain: Joao Eusebio, Magatzem Escola Borne, Barcelona
Switzerland: Nico Colic, Hotel Rivington & Sons, Zurich
USA: Rustyn Vaughan-Lee, The Sporting League, Las Vegas

Find out more about the competition at

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