With such a strong showing in Edinburgh the competitors in the first London heat of the Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations comp had to put on a great show.
As if there was any doubt they proved that London still produces great drinks and fantastic presentations.
It was so strong in fact that Jim Wrigley from Made in Shade, our gracious hosts for the day, who has seen more than his fair share of competitions, mentioned to BarLifeUK that it was one of the strongest he had seen in a long time. Remember these are just the heats, the final in Ibiza is shaping up to be a corker already.
Our 12 competitors consisted of some well known faces (a few of whom have been in this competition in the past) as well as some new faces who will become very well known soon if their showings were anything to go by.
Randy from the Ritz kicked off proceedings and it was immediately obvious that the day was going to be full of creative cocktails with his Red Snapper twist (one of two drinks each competitor had to make, the other being their mediterranean inspired original) containing bearnaise sauce and lobster and tomato bisque.
That set the tone for the day as the judging panel of BarLifeUK, Stuart Ekins from CASK Liquid Marketing and Jennie ‘The Devourer’ Rae from BarChick were treated to many creative and tasty drinks.
Jeremy from Perkin Reveller, one of the competition returners, produced some superb food matching to go with his tasty cocktails including a prawn on a pipet containing his tomato and bacon consume which also formed the base of his Red Snapper twist.
Gainfranco from the Four Seasons continued the Red Snapper innovation trend with his Italian twist being stirred with a long piece of pasta before being served with a wheelbarrow full of accompaniments for the guest to use as they saw fit.
However the comedy presentation award has to go to another Four Seasons representative, Michael. This was made all the more extraordinary by him being German! His banter kept the crowd in stitches but it was his serves that lived long in the mind with his Med Ins drink being served on a beach complete with Gin Mare umbrella and a deck chair made with a map of the area. His Red Snapper was equally well presented in a glass designed to look like a boat on the sea.
Keeping the comedy levels up was Keivan from the Playboy Club reading quotes from a book I implore you all to buy – The Ugly Mermaid. Valerio from Good Godfrey’s ensured the presentation element kept strong to the end, serving his Red Snapper twist in a very smart wellington boot.
Unfortunately there was only one seat on the plane as any number of the entrants could have been in with a shout in the finals. That seat was taken by Stuart Binks from Made in the Shade who balanced his drinks and his chat perfectly.
His Red Snapper twist was served with a side of Ibuprofen and a ham and cheese toastie to help with any possible side effects from the night before. His Med Ins drink was garnished a little more traditionally with goats cheese, honey and crushed nuts to highlight the flavours in the cocktail which included Metaxa alongside the Gin Mare.
So Stuart will be on the plane to Ibiza at the end of August but a massive thankyou must go out to all the competitors and their fantastic supporters for making it such a great day. The same to Jim and India from Made in the Shade for keeping everyone well lubricated with Gin Mare & Tonics and Hobo beer.
Next up is Manchester tomorrow and if you are in the area please come on down to cheer them on at Under New Management (previously Corridor) from 1pm.
If you want to get involved there is still time to enter the Bristol and 2nd London heats just follow the link here.
Stuart Binks winning drinks:
- 37.5ml Gin Mare
- 30ml 12 Star Metaxa
- 15ml Pedro Ximenez
- 25ml lemon juice
- Barspoon honey
- 5ml Frangelico
- 4 Basil leaves
Garnish withgoats cheese, honey, hazelnut and basil leaves
Red Snapper Twist
- 50ml Gin Mare
- 100ml Tomato mix: tomato, carrot, red pepper and passata
- 20ml Spice mix: miso, hot sauce, salt, pepper, dry sherry, red wine and Worcestershire sauce
Garnish with pickled veg and olive