French bartender wins Noilly Prat Martini global challenge


Romain de Saussure martini

Bartender Romain de Saussure from Prescription Cocktail Club in Paris is off on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City after winning a global competition for Noilly Prat vermouth.

He was the winner in a competition that featured 17 bartenders from five countries, including the UK, who were challenged to create the “world’s best-tasting Noilly Prat Classic Dry Martini Cocktail”.

At the global final held at La Maison Noilly Prat in Marseillan in France, he presented the innovative Noilly Prat Dry Méditerranée (pictured) with ingredients including a homemade tincture made of Bombay Sapphire gin infused with Noilly Prat, green olives and rosemary.

At the global final, the UK was represented by the competition’s UK winner Steve Lawson of Mash London in Soho while the winner from Germany and Scandinavia was Gabriel Daun of Gekkos in Frankfurt.

Romain’s prize trip to NYC includes a visit to the Knickerbocker Hotel, reputed to be the birthplace of the classic Dry Martini cocktail in 1912. After 95 years reused as offices, the building on the corner of Broadway and 42nd Street was reborn as the Knickerbocker Hotel in February this year.

The judges included Ludovic Miazga, global brand ambassador for Noilly Prat. He said: “Romain’s clear passion for the industry and adept understanding of flavours triumphed in this winning cocktail. It was delicious.

“His creativity, technical ability and precision, combined with an original taste proved that less really is more when it comes to the world’s best-tasting Noilly Prat classic Dry Martini cocktail.

“Romain’s passion, innovative spirit and ‘l’art de vivre’ was clearly reflected in this perfectly balanced cocktail that is a truly remarkable expression of the iconic serve.”

Drinks trends such as foams and foraging were evident throughout the challenge as participants experimented with unusual flavours and adventurous processes such as homemade tinctures and infusions, smoking guns and regional ingredients from Marseillan.

They were judged on the complete experience, from the serving ritual and storytelling through to the temperature, glassware and taste of the serve, executing their serves in seven minutes using only three ingredients.

As well as Steve Lawson, the competitors in the UK heat were Lorenzo Antinori of The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, Simone Rossi of Quo Vadis, Mike Foster of 69 Colebrooke Row, Joe Farr of Trailer Happiness and Ally Martin of Peg + Patriot – all in London.

The French finalists alongside Romain were all from Paris: Manolo Proust from the Shangri-La Hotel, Nicolas Blanchard of La Conserverie, and Piotr Sajdak of Little Red Door.

From Germany, Denmark and Sweden, the other finalists were Yared Hagos from The Parlour in Frankfurt, Thomas Armbruster of Café de Paris, René Hedeland Larsen from Ruby Cocktail Bar in Copenhagen, Viktor Hägglund from Holmens Kanal Cocktailbar in Copenhagen, Adam Jacobsen from Strøm Bar in Copenhagen and Jimmie Hulth from Tjoget in Stockholm.

Noilly Prat Dry Méditerranée by Romain de Saussure
20ml Noilly Prat Original Dry
40ml Bombay Sapphire infused with Noilly Prat, green olives and rosemary
Grapefruit peel
Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the Noilly Prat Original Dry and the infused Bombay Sapphire. Add the grapefruit peel and stir until perfectly diluted and cold. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with rosemary and cheese (optional).

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