Mixologists go head-to-head to win trip to San Francisco and Napa Valley
Twelve of London’s finest bartenders have put their mixology skills to the test in the southern heat of the No.209 Gin Duel.
The top three contenders from the contest, held at the Boutique Bar Show in London, have confirmed places in the final in November, to be presided over by No.209 Gin Master Distiller Arne Hillesland – known as The Ginerator.
Contenders had 209 seconds to prepare and serve their original aperitif-style cocktail recipe, made using with No.209 Gin. The London winners were:
- First: James Wynn-Williams, All Star Lanes, with ‘Perfect Lady E1’
- Second: Ian Goodman, Oxo Tower, with ‘Time 4 209’
- Third: Ryan Chetiyawardana, 69 Colbrooke Row , with ‘209 + Fine’
Winner James Wynn-Williams said: “I wanted to bring out the great flavours of the botanicals in No.209 Gin, so I used fresh cardamom and coriander in my cocktail.”
Judging panel chairman Jamie Stephenson said: “There was a very high standard, and the scoring was very close. I’d expect to see some more of the London contestants through to the final, unless the standards at the Manchester heat are even higher.”
Fellow judge Sarah Mitchell added: “This was one of the hardest competitions I’ve ever judged – the standard was just so high.” The panel also included Andy Ives, editor of barlifeuk.com, and Ian Bayliss of Hi-Spirits, UK distributor of No.209 Gin.
The second heat takes place the Walrus bar in Manchester on Tuesday October 5. In all, the nine highest scoring finalists from the London and Manchester heats will compete in the final.
The top two mixologists win a four-night, five-day trip to San Francisco and the Napa Valley region. The trip, in March 2011, will also see the winners face-off at Presse restaurant in Napa Valley, home of the No.209 cocktail, in a final duel of gin-mixing ability.
There will also be places on the trip for a bartender from each of the two UK bars which sell the most No.209 Gin during the peak Christmas and New Year sales period. Bars can registe, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About No. 209 Gin: Registered Distillery No. 209 was founded in the Napa Valley in the 1880s and won numerous accolades, including awards at the in 1889’s Grand Exposition in Paris. Having been shut down by Prohibition, the distillery remained dormant until it was reborn at the start of the 21st century in its current location on Pier 50 in San Francisco. Its flagship spirit is the renowned No. 209 Gin, created by Arne Hillesland.