Bristol bartender wins European final by ‘putting pen to shaker’

chelsie bailey

Chelsie Bailey (pictured) from The Milk Thistle in Bristol has won the European final of a competition challenging bartenders to create a cocktail inspired by a book.

Picking up on aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, she created Treasure Ishland using Ish Limed gin, Virgin Gorda rum, lime sherbet and a spiced port syrup, topped with Butcombe Brunel IPA.

Based on a classic grog, the cocktail was served in a bottle with a wax-sealed map attached, in a bed of sand, along with an ice-filled pewter tankard.

The competition was organised by The Poshmakers for its range of spirits, Ish Gin, Ish Limed, Virgin Gorda and AKA Vodka, distributed through 10 Degrees C. Heats were run in the UK, the Czech Republic, Spain and Portugal.

Chelsie’s prize was £1,000 plus a chance to work with The Poshmakers on developing new cocktails for the brands. She will also be able to raise her profile through a full-page article in Bar magazine.

In second place was Martin Oravec from UnoDos bar in Prague, who won £500. His cocktail, Bruno Chef de Police, was named after the French detective character, Bruno Courrèges, created by Martin Walker.

Inspired by the plot of one of the books, Martin muddled grapes and French blue cheese and combined them with Virgin Gorda rum, Ish Limed, fresh lime juice and caramel syrup.

After a series of regional qualifiers and national heats, other bartenders to reach the grand final included Susie Wong from Cuckoo in Prestwich, Greater Manchester.

The other finalists were Vitězslav Cirok from new Prague bar La Fleur, Federico Castro from Hotel Jardin Tropical in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Honorio Oliveira of Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade, Joao Severino from Vila Vita Parc on the Algarve in Portugal, Sebastian Oliva from Oaxaca in Barcelona, and Carlos Santiago from Bonaparte in Porto, Portugal.

The judges were Marian Beke, bar manager of the Nightjar in London, Ellie Baker, co-founder of The Poshmakers, David Hamilton Boyd of consultancy Organic Spirit who was last year’s UK winner, and Mark Ludmon, editor of Bar magazine.

Organised for The Poshmakers by bartender and consultant Jimi Pearce, the final was held at Salvatore’s Bar at Playboy London.

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