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Beefeater Gin is proudly the "only historic dry gin still distilled in London" so London is the obvious location for the annual final of its global bartending competition, appropriately named 'Beefeater MIXLDN'. Now in its seventh year, entrants to this competition have grown exponentially over the years as more countries participate with their own national qualifying competitions. This year bartenders from 31 countries competed.

Importantly, this is a bartending competition rather than simply being a cocktail competition and MIXLDN challenges competitors to do much more than simply create a brilliant signature cocktail, although this is of course an important aspect of the competition.

This year, competitors were asked to create a cocktail inspired by their own city and it obviously gave many the chance to show their patriotism by featuring traditional and artisanal locally made products which they presented with as much pride as the recipes they made with them. Their cocktail name, presentation and the story behind their signature cocktail also counted heavily towards their score. Naturally, their cocktails had to also contain Beefeater Gin and it was interesting to hear why some had chosen to use Beefeater 24 and others Beefeater Dry.

Judging these signature cocktail and the competitors' presentations where Desmond Payne MBE, Beefeater Master Distiller and Ryan Chetiyawardana of Dandelyan and myself (Simon Difford). Meanwhile, in another part of Shoreditch's Bike Shed, the venue for the competition, chef Doug McMaster of Cub, Alessandro Palazzi of Dukes Bar and Sumaiyah Connolly, Beefeater Global Brand Ambassador where judging the competitors on their cocktail and food matching skills.

After the first day's challenges, the following eight bartenders emerged to compete against each other the following evening (8th February 2018) when they each manned a bar and served their signature cocktails to an invited panel of consumers.

The top eight were:

Margarita Dimova - Bulgaria
Jason Griffin - Canada
Patryk Kowalski - Poland
Maxim Schulte - Hong Kong & Macau (Global Winner)
Jason Seele - USA (People's choice)
Miroslav Telehanič - Slovakia
Maxime Verrier - Norway
Alex Walker - UK

Jason Seele, the erudite bartender from Silicon Valley, USA emerged as the People's choice thanks to his Bright Idea cocktail and illuminating circuit board drink stand and entertaining presentation.

But it was Maxim Schulte's cleverly layered Stack of Fortune Cocktail that proved the favourite of both judges and public combined. The different coloured layers of his cocktail represented gambling chips, inspired by Macau's reputation as the Las Vegas of Asia. Appropriately, his drink was also served with a stack of chips.

For more information about the competition visit BeefeaterMIXLDN.com

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Beefeater London Dry Gin image

Beefeater London Dry Gin

Named after the Yeoman Warders Who've guarded the Tower of London since appointed as personal bodyguards by King Henry VIII in 1485, they remain the Queens's

Beefeater Crown Jewel image

Beefeater Crown Jewel

Originally launched in 1993 and aimed at the travel retail market, this premium Beefeater expression named after the Crown Jewels displayed at the Tower

Beefeater Wet  image

Beefeater Wet

Now discontinued, Beefeater Wet used a base of Beefeater gin, flavoured with pear essence and sweetened by the addition of a little sugar.

Beefeater 24 Gin image

Beefeater 24 Gin

Flavoured with 12 botanicals including rare teas, Beefeater 24 takes its name from the 24-hour period the botanicals are steeped in alcohol prior to distillation.

Beefeater London Market image

Beefeater London Market

Released in June 2011, this is the third in a series of Beefeater limited editions developed by Beefeater's master distiller, Desmond Payne. London Market

Beefeater Summer Edition image

Beefeater Summer Edition

A limited edition seasonal line extension to classic Beefeater gin based on the original Beefeater botanical recipe with the addition of floral botanicals

Hawker's Sloe Gin image

Hawker's Sloe Gin

Originally established by James Hawker & Co., a firm of Portsmouth wine merchants. Hawker's suffered as its then owner Allied Domecq struggled to compete

Beefeater Burrough's Reserve image

Beefeater Burrough's Reserve

Launched June 2013, Burrough's Reserve is distilled in a small 19th Century copper pot still and then rested in oak casks for a period prior to bottling.

Beefeater London Garden image

Beefeater London Garden

Available exclusively at Beefeater London, the brand’s gin distillery and visitor centre, Beefeater London Garden Gin was launched in May 2014 to coincide