Gareth Evans named UK World Class champion

Gareth Evans World ClassGareth Evans (pictured), executive bar manager at Social Eating House in London, has been crowned the World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2013.

He beat hundreds of UK bartenders in a final spread over two weeks and three countries, starting with the top 10 finalists competing in the British Airways First Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Four of them won places on a BA flight to New York City, where they were challenged to create an in-flight cocktail at altitude, with limited glassware, resources and time. World Class brand ambassador James Hill, who was one of the judges, said: “At this level in the competition it is expected that the drinks will taste great. It is more about how the bartenders cope with limited glassware, time and resources available on a flight.”

At this stage, Gareth competed with Kevin Griffin, bar manager at Tigerlily in Edinburgh, Aaron Jones of The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, and James Fowler, owner of The Library in Bournemouth.

First, they were challenged to recreate a classic Aviation-based cocktail using Tanqueray No Ten in a galley measure four by four metres – taking into account that the sense of taste is reduced by around 30 per cent at altitude.

Gareth stood out with his Security Measures cocktail, inspired by the security woman who confiscated all his liquids at departure. Gareth turned this negative into a success by serving the drink on a Customs sheet about the 100ml liquid rule with “approved” stickers, bribe money and a lemon twist.

Next, they were given the theme of a “Cocktail Above the Clouds”, recreating a cocktail using Ron Zacapa XO, a rum aged above the clouds in Guatemala at 23,000 feet.

After a stay in New York, the four finalists returned aboard the business-class BA service from New York to London City Airport. During the flight, they were challenged to create a luxury nightcap cocktail with Ron Zacapa XO and Johnnie Walker Blue Label – again dealing with turbulence and limited glassware, space and resources.

Gareth further captivated the judges with his showcase of creativity and exceptional bartending skill, creating a cocktail named Living The Dream at 35,000 feet.

On landing at London City, Gareth and Kevin were awarded the two top spots and headed off to Madrid – by BA – for the Western European final where Gareth secured his place to represent the UK at the Global World Class Final.

Gareth said: “I’m extremely proud and amazed to be representing my country at the Global World Class Final. It’s great to get recognition like this and to compete against the most credible bartenders from across the UK. This has been the highlight of my time as a bartender.”

The other six finalists were Matt Soares of Cloud 23 at Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Ben Purslow of Ziloufs in London, Iain McPherson of The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, Lucy Horncastle of The Victoria in Birmingham, Michael Braun of Bibis Italianissimo in Leeds, and Mark Scott of Hyde & Co in Bristol.

The judges were World Class brand ambassador James Hill, 2010 World Class Global Champion Eric Lorincz of The American Bar at The Savoy, 2012 UK World Class Champion Andy Mil of Match Bar, and drinks writer Tom Sandham of Thinking Drinkers.

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