Oxo Tower’s Ian Goodman Wins No.209 Gin Duel
Copy by John Porter
Goodman edges out 22 Below’s Alessandro Paludet in San Fran Final
After a close-run cocktail contest in San Francisco, Ian Goodman of the Oxo Tower in London has been named overall winner of the No.209 Gin Duel.
Ian and fellow finalist, Alessandro Paludet of 22 Below in London W1, went head-to-head at the Romolo bar in the North Beach district of San Francisco. The contenders had been asked to create San Francisco and London-themed cocktails, which they had to prepare and serve for the judges in 209 seconds.
With no advance notice, they were then asked to work alongside a local bartender to create a cocktail from scratch. With only half a point separating the two after the first three rounds, the judges threw in an extra challenge as the decider.
Ian and Alessandro were asked to make their favourite gin cocktail using No. 209 Gin, with the cocktails tasted ‘blind’ by the four-strong judging panel. By a three-to-one vote, Ian’s Aviator was named the winner over Alessandro’s Martini.
Close run contest
Ian said: “It was a close run contest, especially with the two additional surprise rounds. The bar was packed wall- to-wall, which made for a great atmosphere. It was great to see such enthusiasm for a fantastic local product.
“No. 209 is such a versatile, quality gin that it can be matched with many different flavours, so it lends itself very well to devising cocktail recipes.”
Arne Hillesland said: “It is great to see No.209 inspire such passion and flair among UK bartenders. What’s been interesting through the Gin Duel is the knowledge contenders have shown about different cocktail styles. It was a very tough contest to judge.”
Ian and Alessandro won their trip to San Francisco after competing in the London heat and the final of the No. 209 Gin Duel last autumn. As guests of the No.209 Distillery and Hi-Spirits, UK distributor of No.209, their itinerary also included visits to some of the top cocktail bars in the City by the Bay, as well as vineyard tours in the Napa Valley.
The contest gave the finalists the chance to test their creativity and mixology skills to the limit. Ian’s San Francisco cocktail, ‘Summer of Love’, included a shot of No. 209 Gin with elderflower, peach and ginger liqueurs, shaken with orange flower water and fresh lemon mix. Alessandro’s ‘Flowers in your Hair’, inspired by the iconic San Francisco song, was made with No.209 Gin, muddled raspberries and elderflower cordial.
Jeremy Hill, chairman of Hi-Spirits, said: “Both Ian and Alessandro deserve credit for seeing off strong competition to reach the San Francisco final, as well as for their skill and competitive spirit on the night. We’d urge UK bartenders to start working on their No.209 cocktail recipes now, because the Gin Duel will be back, bigger than before, later this year.”