Search for world’s most imaginative bartender reaches global final

Dan Berger heddon street

Bartenders from eight countries are set to come together in Spain and London for the global final of Bombay Sapphire gin’s competition to find the world’s most imaginative bartender.

From May 30 to June 5, they will travel to Madrid and Murcia in Spain and then onto the grand finale in London, facing different challenges along the way.

They will include the UK winner, Dan Berger (pictured) of Gordon Ramsay Group’s Heddon Street Kitchen in London. The other seven finalists are:

  • Robin Kaufman representing Canada, from Toronto Temperance Society in Toronto
  • Mitsuhiro Nakamura representing Japan, from Peter at The Peninsula in Tokyo
  • Laura Choquart representing France, from George V Four Seasons in Paris
  • Lukas Motejzik representing Germany, from Zephyr Bar in Munich
  • Luis Bustamente representing Spain, from Metric Market in Barcelona
  • Ran Duan representing the USA, from The Baldwin Bar at Sichuan Garden in Woburn, Massachusetts
  • Sigrid Ehm representing Austria, from The Hammond Bar in Vienna (wildcard winner online).

Hundreds of bartenders from around the world competed against each other in national heats to secure seven of the eight places in the global final. This year, entrants were asked to draw on their knowledge and imagination to craft their own cocktail recipe with Bombay Sapphire inspired by “sublime beauty”, showcased with a story explaining the creation of the serve.

For the first time in the competition, which began in 2011, Bombay Sapphire opened up the last global finalist position to a wildcard entry online. Bartenders were asked to submit their most imaginative cocktail recipe that would bring to life their own skill, passion and creativity. All online entrants were reviewed by Raj Nagra, global brand ambassador for Bombay Sapphire, with Sigrid from Vienna winning through.

The finalists will begin their journey in Madrid where they will be immersed in the culture, history and gastronomy of the Spanish capital. They will then travel to Alicante to visit the bountiful fields of Murcia where two of Bombay Sapphire’s botanicals originate: lemon peel and bitter almonds. They will then compete for top place at the grand finale in London on June 5.

Over the course of the week, finalists will be challenged to create a new Bombay Sapphire-based cocktail that combines individual influence and creativity with the cultural experiences discovered during the trip.

Raj said: “We are extremely proud to once again be hosting a competition which celebrates the power of imagination in cocktail making. Not only does this competition nurture the extraordinary talent within bartenders worldwide, but it also promotes the dedication and creativity required to be a world-leading bartender.

“This year we are challenging our finalists to discover beauty in the everyday and translate that new found knowledge into a sublime, award winning cocktail.”

You can follow the competitors’ journey on social media using the hashtag, #WMIB2015.

Previous Summer pop-up to offer ‘medicinal’ drinking and seasonal food
Next Budweiser Budvar celebrates with new can and limited-edition beer