Following regional heats in the UK which lead to a final held at the home of Gabriel Boudier in Dijon, France, the triumphant Wizard of the 2019 Gabriel Boudier Wizard Awards was announced.
Gabriel Boudier challenged bartenders across the UK to create a unique liqueur not commercially available in the market, and as in previous years, the ingredients had to be natural and ethically sourced.
With regional heats held in September and October 2019, three bartenders earned their spot at the final, plus one Wild Card finalist.
The competition culminated at the Gabriel Boudier distillery in Dijon, France, on 27 January 2020, where the four finalists presented their liqueurs to the panel of judges comprised of Master Wizards of Gabriel Boudier.
While finalists showcased their liqueur in two recipes: a signature serve and a simple serve, they were also judged on their marketing plan to launch their liqueur.
Congratulations to Matthew Cusworth, of Hoot the Redeemer in Edinburgh, who was named the winning Wizard. Matthew was awarded the grand prize of £1,000 and will go on to work in partnership with Gabriel Boudier to refine his Nori Seaweed Liqueur recipe before its launch in the UK later in 2020.
Matthew Cusworth, the Gabriel Boudier Wizard champion, said, "It was an incredible and humbling experience being able to present my Wizard entry to the Gabriel Boudier family at their home in Dijon. It was surreal to tour their incredible facilities and to think my liqueur idea will become a reality here – being produced side by side with some amazing products!"
Now, for the four competitors, their liqueurs and recipes, take a look below.
Matthew Cusworth - the winning Wizard
Hoot the Redeemer, Edinburgh
Liqueur - Nori Seaweed Liqueur
Matthew created his Nori Seaweed Liqueur using nori, dulse, lime peel and grapefruit peel.
Signature Serve - The Kanagawa Cocktail
50ml RinQuinQuin Peach Aperitif
25ml Nori Seaweed Liqueur
10ml Oloroso Sherry
A dash of Mount Fuji Bitters
Stir the ingredients and strain into a Nick & Nori glass, garnish with origami crane aromatised with peaty whisky.
Simple Serve - Skye-Ball
25ml Talisker 10yo
15ml Nori Seaweed Liqueur
Top with soda water.
Build ingredients in a highball glass and garnish with samphire.
Lorenzo Gavelli - Wizard of the South
The Chambers at The Chamberlain Hotel, London
Liqueur - Pandan Leaf Liqueur
Lorenzo showcased the unique flavour of fresh Pandan leaves in his liqueur.
Signature Serve - Negroni
25ml Pandan Leaf Liqueur
25ml London Dry Gin
Build in a rocks glass and garnish with a wedge of orange.
Simple Serve - High Ball
50ml Pandan Leaf Liqueur
100ml Fentimans Tropical Soda
A squeeze of lime
Build in a highball glass and garnish with a lime wedge.
Luke Bensley - Wizard of the North
Liqueur - Beetroot Liqueur
Luke's Beetroot Liqueur was created with beetroot, sarsaparilla, star anise and apple juice.
Signature Serve - Beetroot Mocha
25ml Beetroot Liqueur
25ml Gabriel Boudier Cacao
25ml Simple syrup
Simple Serve - Beetroot & Tonic
50ml Beetroot Liqueur
Top with Aromatic Tonic Water
Dominic Saunders - Wild Card
Royal Academy of Music, London
Liqueur - Chipotle & Pineapple Liqueur
Dominic created his liqueur using light rum, dried chipotle and fresh pineapple.
Signature Serve - Papa Don Preach
25ml Pineapple & Chipotle Liqueur
35ml Don Papa Rum
25ml Lime juice
20ml Sugar syrup
Fresh Pineapple juice
2 dashes of Choc bitters
Shake and strain into a Tiki rocks glass, garnish with dehydrated pineapple, three cut and shaped pineapple leaves and grated dark chocolate on top.
Simple Serve - Pineapple & Chipotle & Rhubarb Tonic
50ml Pineapple & Chipotle Liqueur
2 dashes of peach bitters
Top with Rhubarb Tonic Water
Serve in a tall glass with cubed ice, garnish with mint sprigs and lime wedge.