Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations Tips with Robyn Wilkie & Jorge Balbontin

Last year’s global champion, the UK’s Robyn Wilkie, shares some advice and tips on how to succeed in this year Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations competition.

Robyn in action

The competition is currently live and ready for entries with the UK winner jetting off to Ibiza to compete against bartenders from across the world and take part in some amazing gastronomy based experiences later this year. More information about the competition can be found here.

Over in Ibiza last year it was Robyn who emerged victorious. In-between relaxing by the pool, eating amazing food and partying in Ibiza’s biggest clubs she found time to wow the distinguished judging panel. So much so, she was announced the 2016 Global Champion.

We had a chat with Robyn to get some tips and advice for anyone looking to enter this year:

What inspired you to enter the competition last year?
When I first started bartending I had always heard about the Gin Mare competition as one of the bigger annual comps. Last year I just really liked the brief and felt ready to enter.

Last year one drink had to be inspired by the egg (this year it is the artichoke),where did your inspiration for the egg serve come from?
The brief specifically said “inspired” by. So I decided I wanted to make a drink like one with egg in it but without actually using any egg.

(Ed – The resulting drink was The Masquerade 40ml Gin Mare, 50ml natural yoghurt, 25ml carrot and saffron shrub, 10ml lemon. Served up with an almond and honey foam)

What was your highlight of the Ibiza trip (besides winning!)?
Living in London and working nights I rarely get time in the sun. Spending a few days by the pool with friends was perfect!

Why do you think people should enter?
I think the Mediterranean Inspirations competition is definitely worth entering. It’s a very well organised competition which immerses all of its competitors in the brand.

What would you do with this years special ingredient round based on the artichoke?
I would probably start by thinking about the ways I’ve eaten artichokes in the past and what other flavours it would go with, then go from there.

Any tips for anyone entering this year?
Definitely always consider a food pairing option or edible garnish.

We would rather like it if the UK could retain the title won by Robyn last September so we also had a chat with Gin Mare Global Brand Ambassador Jorge Balbontin. He is one of the judges at the finals and knows how to play with Gin Mare’s flavours better than anyone in the world.

The Masquerade
The Masquerade

We specifically wanted to look at the Artichoke inspired drink and how he would suggest going about approaching it. This is what he said:

‘The Artichoke is just the inspiration The way that you choose to use it can be real (such as an ingredient), or conceptual (like the story that comes with the cocktail, the garnish or the vessel).

Built, stirred, layered, swizzled, thrown, shaken or double Japanese hard shake if you like; sours, flips, fizzzes, cobblers, collins, cups, juleps, highballs or slushies are just some of the options. Artichoke essence, tea, extract, juice, cordial, tincture, smoke or vapours are also cool; and yes Cynar too….

All we are saying is that the possibilities are endless and that you push them to the limit. Think outside the box. Get cooking, get mixing now!

Let’s not forget that Gin Mare is the main character here, so we must be able to recognise its organoleptic qualities.’

So there you have it, two people who know what they are doing when it comes to drinks and Gin Mare, to inspire you. Don’t forget the deadline for the competition is June 2nd so don’t delay in getting your entry in. More information can be found here and you can enter the competition through this link.

Good luck, we look forwarded to seeing you in the heats and celebrating your win in Ibiza.