The global Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year competition took place last week and Stuart Fritz from the Academy bar in Soho beat the USA’s best bartenders to grab the honours and a check for $10,000.
In the tranquil setting of the Caribbean island of St Martin, Stuart went up against 14 qualifiers from the US for a 5 day competition. The comp consisted of 4 rounds of heats testing the contestants all round bartending skills and culminating in a face-off between the final two contestants. Stuart went up against Claire Sprouse from Houston with both having to create an original drink from a given set of ingredient, taking it out with a drink entitled ‘Siam I Am’ – recipe below.
After proving once again that bartenders from the UK’s top bars are a level up from their American colleagues Stuart said ‘I am absolutely stoked not only because of the cash but to come to such a beautiful place with the honour of the UK at stake and walk away as champion shows that UK bartenders are still very much leading the way in both knowledge, creativity and presentation.’
To get to the finals Stuart took out the UK heats back in November when he was up against 12 other contestants from across the country. Crystal Fanale, Export Director for Domaine de Canton, who judged the UK and US qualifying heats backed up Stuart’s belief in the UK bar industry ‘This year the UK really has shown us the way. In November I was really impressed by the quality and diversity of all the drinks. The UK bartenders showed us just how versatile Domaine de Canton really is, some of the flavours and presentations were quite remarkable and showed that Domaine de Canton has a very bright future outside of the US.’
Chris Seale, Managing Director of Speciality Brands Ltd, who distribute Domaine de Canton in the UK was never in any doubt of the UK bar industries skills ‘We are really please for Stuart and were quietly confident he would walk away with the grand prize.’
Chris also put all bartenders on high alert for their chance to be involved in this great comp next time round ‘Domaine de Canton is a fantastic product when used either as a base or a cocktail ingredient and we are really looking forward to running the competition again later this year when after Stuart’s victory entries are sure to be higher than ever.’
The UK heats will be held in November, all details released in September.
Siam I Am – Stuart Fritz
1 teaspoon Benedictine
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice (fresh)
50ml Domaine de Canton
Serve on the rocks with an orange twist around a sprig of thyme.