This weekend, in a winery close to Barcelona, three teams tested their forces, talent and their rogue spirit at the finale of “Bar to Barcelona” the bartender competition by El Bandarra aperitivo. The result: three delicious cocktails made with El Bandarra Al Fresco, a cheering crowd and a huge trophy flying back to the UK.

More than 50 teams took part in the first bartender competition created by the aperitivo brand from Barcelona. The adventure took off in March, with an online call for all bartenders in the UK to team up and make a crazy delicious creation using El Bandarra Al Fresco, their refreshing aperitivo made with Spanish wines and Mediterranean botanicals. El Bandarra, meaning The Rogue, is more than aperitivo: is an attitude, so the competition wasn’t only about creating the perfect drink , but about teamwork and embracing the Bandarra energy with tons of spirit and fun. Inspired by the dynamic relationship between Alex and Albert Virgili , twin brothers and the co-founders of El Bandarra. Three triumphant teams were announced after UK judging rounds took place during the Summer months. South Finalist Lucy Thomas & Georgia Balson. of Lioness, London Cocktail: The Freddie Murphy Effect Recipe: 50ml El Bandarra Al Fresco 7.5ml Party All The Time elixir (tomato & black pepper infused tequila) 7.5ml Chartreuse blend 5ml Fresh grapefruit juice 2.5ml Sugar syrup top Tonic water North Finalist Shiv Lal & Stephanie Rainbow of Kimmel Hotel, North Wales Cocktail: Teras Nuevo Recipe: 75ml El Bandarra Al Fresco 12.5ml Vegemite 10ml Malt vinegar 3 cardamom pods Scotland FInalist Zach Sapato & Libby Smith of The Absent Ear, Glasgow Cocktail: Stems Up Recipe: 70 ml El Bandarra Al Fresco 10 ml Giffard Menthe Pastille 20 ml fresh lime juice 15 ml cucumber syrup The three teams were invited to the last round, in Barcelona on Saturday 17th September at the Bandarra family winery. Here, the finalists paired up to present and perform as part of Festa Major (the Virgili brother’s great annual party). Music, castells (human towers), wines and lots of aperitivo accompanied the face off. Three well rounded and daring cocktails were presented for all 120 guests to enjoy. Joining Albert and Alex Virgili on the judging panel on the day , were Barcelona based bartenders Tom Godfrey and Theo Thomas Quinn of FOCO and Pol Mas of Lilith & Sons. Later, an audience vote and a speed round, helped solidify the winners, Bandarra style! Competition was tight but only one team could take the trophy home, and that was the Scottish one, formed by Zach Sapato and Libby Smith and their cocktail “Stems Up”. The cocktail, made with Al Fresco, Giffard Menthe Pastille , lime and cucumber surprised the roaring crowd as they were drenched in water as part of pious procession by ‘Nuestro Mujer del Aperitivo’ aka Our Lady of Aperitivo. Meanwhile, brand knowledge was read over a soundtrack of Georgian chants that captivated the room. Brand Ambassador Alexa Farrow added ‘ It was wonderful to see the bartenders really embrace our El Bandarra energy and entertaining the crowd with such creativity. No other cocktail competition would give you animal masked bartenders , Bhangra dance-offs, a water blessing by cloaked biblical characters or a a pepperami parasol garnish. The teams smashed it and we look forward to hosting the Bar to Barcelona competition again next year!”