Connaught bartender to represent UK in Bols competition

Rusty CervenRusty Cerven (pictured) of the Connaught Bar at London’s Connaught Hotel has been announced as the UK representative in the final stages of the Bols Around the World competition.

He is one of 21 bartenders selected from entrants from 66 countries to take part in the semi-finals in Amsterdam on May 1. Twelve winners will then go on to compete in the grand final on May 7.

Now in its seventh year, Bols Around the World challenges bartenders to create a cocktail recipe using Bols Genever, Bols liqueurs, or both.

This year, the team of judges said they were impressed by the “unsurpassed level of creativity and originality” from bartenders not just in leading cocktail cities such as London and New York but across all 66 participating countries.

Rusty joined the Connaught Bar two years ago after working at Mark’s Bar at Hix in Soho with Nick Strangeway. He came to London from Slovakia where he was bar manager at Paparazzi Cocktail Bar and Restaurant in Bratislava for two years.

The winner will be crowned Bols Bartending World Champion 2013 and will go on an all-expenses-paid eight-day bar tour “around the world” to four cocktail cities of his/her choice and will also win a trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this summer.

All 21 semi-finalists will become Bols brand ambassadors and win a second trip to Amsterdam for a unique training programme at the Bols Bartending Academy at the headquarters of Lucas Bols.

Five “Young Talents”, selected from a pool of 500 young bartenders scouted across the globe by the Bols Bartending Academy team, have also been added to the semi-finalists. From the Young Talents, only one can make it to the final to take on the 11 other experienced bartenders.

This year, the global panel of judges for both the finals and semi-finals will be headed by Malika Saidi, head trainer at the Bols Bartending Academy. The judges include Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown of cocktail and drinks publisher Mixellany, Hidetsugu Ueno, owner and bartender of Bar High Five Tokyo, global tiki expert Jeff Beachbum Berry, Ago Perrone, global brand ambassador for Galliano and head mixologist at the Connaught Bar, and last year’s Bols Bartending World Champion Gabor Onufer of Boutiq’ Bar in Budapest, Hungary.

The semi-finalists announced so far are:

  • Canada: Jenner Cormier of The Middle Spoon in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • USA: Tom Richter of The Beagle in New York City
  • Central America & Caribbean: Luuk Gerritsen of Vegas 360 in Curaçao
  • UK: Rusty Cerven of The Connaught Bar in London
  • Scandinavia: Leszek Stachura of The Union in Copenhagen
  • Germany: André Pintz of Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof in Leipzig
  • Italy: Tiziana Borreani of Cafè del Mar in Savona
  • Western Europe (Netherlands): Ciro de Georgio of Dvars in Amsterdam
  • Eastern Europe (Romania): Alexandru Tudor of Barmania in Bucharest
  • Poland: Mateusz Szuchnik of Pies Czy Suka Pure Bar in Warsaw
  • Japan: Michie Nishida of Bar Open Door B2 in Osaka
  • Middle East & Africa (Dubai): Jimmy Barrat of Zuma in Dubai
  • Asia (South Korea): Seongha Lee of Kap Bar & Dining in Seoul
  • Australia & New Zealand: Benjamin Tua of Mechanics Institute in Perth

The regional winner for Argentina will be announced on April 17 at the national final in Buenos Aires while Russia’s will be announced on April 12 after the national final in St Petersburg.

The four Young Talent semi-finalists announced so far are Stefan van Zuijlen from Jersey in Goes in the south-western Netherlands, Fanni Lajkó of Boutiq’ Bar in Budapest, José Kennedy Nascimento of MyNY Bar in São Paolo in Brazil, and Nokoy Mak of Quinary in Hong Kong. The Young Talent for Russia will be announced on April 17.

Follow the competition at Follow Rusty Cerven on Twitter at @RustyBartender.

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