Finalists line up to be Bombay Sapphire’s most imaginative

Matteo Vanzi

Bombay Sapphire has revealed the full list of bartenders from around the world who will compete in the global final of its World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition in the UK this week.

It will take place from June 8 to 13, based in London but including a trip to the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire to provide the finalists with inspiration. They will also be immersed in the culture, history and fine-drinking circuit of London.

It features bartenders from 14 countries, including the UK winner, Richard Wood from Duck & Waffle in the Heron Tower in the City of London.

The others are:

  • Kenny Klein representing Austria, from Maniac Bar Artists, Bad Ischl
  • Lee Peppinck representing Canada, from The Living Room, Calgary
  • Jonas Brandenborg Andersen representing Denmark, from Strom bar, Copenhagen
  • Marian Krause representing Germany, from Spirits Bar, Köln
  • Alexander Frezze representing Italy, from Achivio Storico, Napoli
  • Ayumi Tokunaga representing Japan, from Bar Seven Seas, Fukuoka
  • Ran van Ongevalle representing Belgium, from BAAR, Ghent
  • Juan Valls representing Spain, from El Nino Perdido, Valladolid
  • Timothy Alun Mulhbeyer representing Switzerland, from Hotel Schweizer Hof, Bern
  • Julio Cabrera representing the USA, from The Regent Cocktail Club, Miami
  • Remy Savage representing France, from Little Red Door, Paris
  • David Mora representing Mexico, from Puebla 109, La Roma
  • Zoe Waage representing Norway, from Bettola, Oslo.

They will be challenged to create a new gin-based cocktail that combines individual influence and creativity, with the cultural experiences discovered during the trip.

Raj Nagra, global brand ambassador for Bombay Sapphire, said: “The World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition is a true celebration of the importance of creativity and ingenuity in mixology and we are thrilled to be hosting such a high calibre of talent in this year’s global final.

“Bartending is so much more than being a great showman. Each cocktail needs a well-thought-out story, the perfect balance of flavour, supreme bartending skills and unparalleled originality.”

The first round of the competition will be a day of semi-finals, with each competitor battling to secure a place in the grand final on June 12.

For the first time in the competition’s history, consumers will be invited to sample each finalist’s cocktail and vote for their choice of bartender to win The People’s Choice Award on the night.

The 2013 winner was Matteo Vanzi (pictured) who was working at Stravinskji Bar at the Hotel De Russie in Rome but is now at The Hide Bar in London. He said: “Competitors will really start to feel the spotlight shining on them and will need to dig deep to find the creativity and imagination needed to take this year’s title.

“I’ve had a whirlwind year since winning 2013, which has seen me move to London to work in one of the city’s best bars and had my own cocktail – Red Carpet – become the signature serve in Virgin Atlantic’s Clubhouses for the year.”

The collaboration with Virgin Atlantic is being continued for a second year as part of the prize package on offer to the 2014 global winner. Alongside Raj, the winner will also enjoy some of the world’s premium trade shows and significant media profiling.

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