The elusive beauty of the English summer inspired the winning drink at this year’s Beefeater MIXLDN Global Bartender Competition. There were 32 national finalists in all making it their biggest competition to date and the final, held at the Vinyl Factory in London’s Soho on 28th January, made for a genuinely exciting night. It was a truly international competition too, with finalists hailing from Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, UK and USA. Everyone had worked incredibly hard to get to this stage and the atmosphere was electric.
While Canada’s Evelyn Chick – bartender at the acclaimed Harbord Room in Toronto – eventually triumphed, the standard of all the cocktails was dizzyingly high. Tasked with creating a drink inspired by the spirit of London, the finalists created some exciting and varied drinks, with creative highlights including Frank Thelen, of Germany’s Roomers Bar, whose drink, the Trafalgar, featured pumpernickel bread, homemade honey, lemon and ginger cordial, and an inventive olive ash rim.
The UK’s Joe Schofield – from the iconic Beaufort Bar at the Savoy - created a sweet drink called Mother’s Milk and was also handing out Milky Bar Buttons and Haribo on the night. LA bartender Karen Grill, of the Sassafras Saloon, created the Raja Fizz, a drink was inspired by Brick Lane and her creative and aromatic cocktails used three different curry spices – including cumin and cardamom – to create something intriguingly layered. Mexico’s Claudia Rodriguez, meanwhile, created Beefeater Green Sour while France’s Kelly Ballett, of Paris bar Lulu White, conjured up a cocktail called Hopscotch using smoked hop syrup and grapefruit zest.
Evelyn Chick’s winning drink, Endless English Summers, was perhaps the most inventive, a cocktail which set out to capture that feeling of leaving the busy underground behind and stepping into a London park. It was meant to capture something of the essence of the city’s green spaces, refreshing and dewy. The resulting drink was complex and layered, featuring a bespoke ‘Green Park’ cordial of fennel and caraway that had an intriguing aniseed note to it. By winning the competition she earns the role of Beefeater’s Apprentice Brand Ambassador, and will spend the coming year supporting the Beefeater’s team of Global Ambassadors and represent Beefeater at exclusive events all around the world.