Paris bartender wins global Gin Mare final

Amanda BoucherThe global final of Gin Mare’s annual Mediterranean Inspirations competition in Ibiza has been won by bartender Amanda Boucher (pictured), who works at Candelaria in Paris.

She and the other seven finalists were challenged to create twists on a gin and tonic and a “Dirty Mare-tini” plus an original recipe, all inspired by “Mare Nostrum” – the Latin name for the Mediterranean Sea.

Amanda impressed the judges with her version of a Mediterranean gin and tonic, adding a black pepper-infused oil and a garnish of rosemary and red pepper. Her Dirty Mare-tini used Tio Diego amontillado sherry, a salt solution and a Del Maguey mezcal rinse.

Luca Vezzali from Café Bar Luca y Andrea in Milan came second while Juan José Saber from 41 Degrees in Barcelona was third. The other finalists included UK winner Alistair Reynolds of Hawksmoor in London.

At the end of the competition the winners took home €4,500, €2,000 and €1,000 in prizes for the top three places. Half was paid in cash and the other will be received through working as Mediterranean Inspirations bartenders at global events such as Bar Convent in Berlin, Moscow Bar Show and Super Bar in Milan.

Amanda, who grew up in Minnesota but has worked in top Paris bars since 2010, will also see her Dirty Mare-tini cocktail being used as one of the four cocktails to be promoted by Gin Mare in 2014. Others will include Jardín, created by chef Macarena de Castro.

The judges also looked for drinks that were inspired by Gin Mare’s four core brand values of lifestyle, gastronomy, escape and climate.

Luca presented a Dirty Mare-Tini made with clarified tomato juice while Juan José’s signature Gin Mare Cocktail was inspired by Mediterranean beaches with a selection of gastronomic products typical of the region.

The global final was held this week over two days in the idyllic waterfront Villa Mare on the northern part of Ibiza. Macarena showed her Mediterranean cooking influences and Michelin star skills with a presentation that included a special dessert named Gin Mare using the four main botanicals found in the gin: thyme, basil, rosemary and Arbequina olives.

Jorge Balbontín, cocktail brand manager from Gin Mare owner Global Premium Brands, said: “The third edition of Mediterranean Inspirations had an incredibly high level of participants, demonstrated by the closeness of the final marks obtained by each finalist.

“Each year it gets harder to select a winner, which is positive as the bartender community gains a better understanding of the Mediterranean concept that represents Gin Mare. All the finalists have created extremely interesting and innovative cocktail recipes.”

Alongside Jorge, the judges included award-winning bartender Jimmy Barrat from Zuma in Dubai, renowned British mixologist Jim Wrigley, Simon Webster from BarLifeUK and Mario Kappes from world-class cocktail bar Le Lyon in Hamburg.

The other finalists were James Connolly of Rockpool Bar & Grill in Perth, Australia, Guillermo Delgado of Friesen in Köln, Germany; Yves Schaffter of Dante in Zurich, Switzerland, and Alberto Pires of Mojito Bar Catering, based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Juan Carlos Maroto, marketing director of Global Premium Brands, said: “All finalists deserved to win. Mediterranean Inspirations is a cocktail competition which not only searches for a winner but drives innovation and at the same time aims to create a communication network between the participating bartenders, within an unforgettable environment throughout the competition created by the unforgettable Ibiza setting.”

Mare Nostrum cocktail by Amanda Boucher

50ml Gin Mare
1-2 Sorrel leaves
15ml Simple syrup
15ml Fresh pressed Lemon Juice
15ml Salers Aperitif Gentiane Liqueur
A pinch of salt
Garnish: sorrel leaves

Shake and double-strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with sorrel leaves.

Dirty Mare-tini by Amanda Boucher

60ml Gin Mare
10ml Tio Diego amontillado sherry
2 sashes of salt solution (1 part salt, 10 parts water)

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled Martini cocktail glass that has been rinsed with Del Maguey mezcal.

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