UK bartender wins global title in Bols competition

Bols Bartending Champion Rusty CervenRusty Cerven from London’s Connaught Bar has triumphed against bartenders from around the world to be named Bols Bartending World Champion.

He won the grand final of the competition in Amsterdam after he and 20 other international finalists were scrutinised for their cocktail-making skills, commercial and marketing insight, passion for bartending and overall ability to entertain.

After making it through to the final shortlist of 12, Rusty impressed the judges with his cocktail William’s Punch, a blend of lemon sherbet, rhubarb juice, Bols Parfait Amour, Bols Genever and champagne, topped with nutmeg and lemon peel.

The grand final was held at Escape nightclub in Amsterdam in front of a 1,100-strong audience of bartenders and consumers and a panel of expert judges.

Rusty was awarded an eight-day trip around the world to four cocktail cities of his choice, as well as a Platinum Bols Ambassadorship, which includes two all-expenses-paid trips to Amsterdam for intensive training.

He said: “I am overjoyed to have won the Bartending Championship and really looking forward to getting into the role and working closely with Bols. Winning the competition has been one of the best moments of my life and all the contestants have been amazing. It’s been like a family with everyone supporting each other and I wish them all the best of luck in the future.”

The judging panel was headed by Malika Saidi, head trainer at Bols Bartending Academy. She was joined by cocktail writers Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown of publisher Mixellany, Hidetsugu Ueno, owner and bartender at Bar High Five in Tokyo, global tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Ago Perrone, global brand ambassador for Galliano and head mixologist at the Connaught Bar, and Gabor Onufer of Boutiq’ Bar in Budapest and Bols Bartending World Champion 2012.

Malika said: “The level of the competition gets higher every year with incredible talent taking part from all over the world. The competition this year was extremely close between the finalists but Rusty stood out with his amazing personality and creativity and his cocktail delivered the perfect combination of flavour and innovation.”

The seventh annual competition attracted almost 3,000 entries from 66 countries – the most extensive pool of entries the contest has ever seen.

Bols chief executive Huub van Doorne said: “The Bols Bartending World Championship is now in its seventh year and continues to produce incredible creations from some of the most talented bartenders in the world.

“This year’s competition has been one of our most exciting yet, proving the bar scene is still dedicated to injecting innovation and energy into cocktail making. Each competitor worked extremely hard to get here and Rusty did a fantastic job using Bols Genever and Bols liqueurs to reflect his ability to create a truly outstanding cocktail.”

Alongside Rusty, the other 11 finalists have received a one-year Gold Bols Ambassadorship, including a trip to Amsterdam for intensive Bols Ambassador training and an honorary contract to represent Bols in their own home country across a range of seminars, trade shows and courses.

In second place was Ciro Adriano de Georgio, head bartender at Dvars bar in Amsterdam, with the drink, Seduzione while third place went to Mateusz Szuchnik from Poland, whose cocktail was the P-D Connection (Polish-Dutch Connection).

The other finalists were Jimmy Barrat from Dubai, Seongha Lee from South Korea, Tom Richter from the US, Gonzalo Cabado from Argentina, Michie Nishida from Japan, Leszek Stachura from Denmark, Alexandru Tudor from Romania and Luuk Gerritsen from Curaçao.

The title of Young Talent was awarded to Fanni Lajkó from Hungary, who was one of five Young Talent finalists selected by scouts from the Bols Bartending Academy from a pool of 500 bartenders aged 21 and under from across the globe.

William’s Punch by Rusty Cerven

20ml Home-made lemon sherbet
20ml Freshly pressed rhubarb juice
10ml Bols Parfait Amour
35ml Bols Genever
50ml Champagne

To make the lemon sherbet, grate the skin of 12 lemons on a fine grater, add 200g of caster sugar and muddle all together to release the oils from the zest. Add 600ml lemon juice, let it infuse for 15 to 20 minutes and then filter. Pour all the ingredients except the champagne into a punch bowl and add enough ice to chill it down. Top up with champagne and garnish with grated nutmeg on top plus lemon peel and seasonal fruit.”

Rusty explained: “This punch is named after King William of Orange, the person responsible for boosting the genever and gin culture in England. Punch is my favourite category and it is considered as the father of cocktails and plays an important role throughout history. ‘Punch’ means five in Hindi and William’s Punch contains five ingredients. I have created a traditional recipe of lemon sherbet, as was made in England in the 18th century by William Terrington, and used Bols Genever as it is the spirit that caused a drinking revolution in our country, rhubarb, the most common ingredient in English cuisine, Bols Parfait Amour as a description of my love for the job I do, and finally champagne to make it festive. And this punch wouldn’t be complete without a sprinkling of nutmeg.

P-D Connection by Mateusz Szuchnik

45ml Bols Genever
10ml Żubrowka bisson grass vodka
20ml Bols Green Tea
20ml Fresh lemon juice
2.5ml Sugar syrup 2:1
1ml Peychaud’s Bitters

A thrown cocktail, garnished with mint leaves and thyme. It is served in traditional Polish and Dutch porcelain with Dutch cheese and a Polish biscuit

Mateusz explained: “My inspiration is the taste of green tea which is very popular in Poland and has a strong connection between Poland and Dutch cuisine where we eat similar snacks and meals. Tea has been enjoyed by my family for years and it’s become a part of my life.”

Seduzione by Ciro Adriano de Georgio

50ml Bols Genever
10ml Galliano L’autentico
30ml Fresh lemon juice
10ml Vanilla syrup
1 Egg white
15ml Visciolata del Cardinale
1 sprinkle of absinthe

Shake all the ingredients except the Visciolata and the absinthe. Dry shake and pour over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Pour the Visciolata on top, as you usually do with port in a New York Sour, and sprinkle the absinthe. Garnish with a grapefruit zest rolled like a small flower, served on a small tray with a lipstick, some flowers, a perfume bottle and a small mirror.

Ciro explained: “It’s a sour cocktail which represents my country, containing Italian Galliano and Visciolata. Lemons were a must where I grew up and sours are my favourite cocktails. Combining my taste and my country, this cocktail is like a sensual woman – ‘seduzione’ means seduction of course – that pretties herself up with lipstick (the Visciolata) and a spray of her perfume (the absinthe) to meet her lover (the genever) wearing a beautiful yellow dress (the Galliano).”

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