UKBG National Cocktail Competition
Words by Difford's Guide
Hosted at London bar, Kwãnt, eleven competitors went head to head with their rediscovered classics for first place in the UKBG National Cocktail Competition 2019 Grand Final.
In collaboration with Pernod Ricard, the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild National Cocktail Competition 2019 challenged UK bartenders to take inspiration from Ian Fleming's classic Vesper Martini to create their own two unique recipes - the best Classic Vesper Martini and a New Modern Classic. Competitors were required to use at least 40ml of Absolut Elyx Vodka or Plymouth Gin per cocktail.
Following national heats and a maritime heat, eleven finalists earned their place in the final round. On 16th September 2019, the finalists came together in London for the Grand Final and showcased their drinks to the judging panel, comprising Erik Lorincz, owner of Kwãnt, Paloma Alos, Difford's Guide, Gareth Evans, Global Ambassador Absolut Elyx and Elysa McGuire, winner of UKBG National Cocktail Competition 2018. The judges scored the finalists and their cocktails against the following criteria: name, technical execution, relevance to the brief, appearance, aroma and taste.
After twenty-two drinks and presentations, it was Lawrence Woodrow Smith from The Domino Club in Leeds who emerged the deserving winner. He received a unique one-year guest bartending tour of the UK plus the opportunity for personal mentoring from drinks industry legend Peter Dorelli. Not only that, he also has the chance to represent the UKBG at the IBA World Cocktail Competition in 2020. We present the winner and two runners-up, in order, below.
Lawrence Woodrow Smith
The Domino Club, Leeds
Vesper Martini interpretation - Forgotten Classic
Martini interpretation - The Silver Fox
45 Park Lane, London
Vesper Martini interpretation - Equality
Martini interpretation: Don't get dry
Garnish: Micro basil
75ml Plymouth Gin
15ml Vermouth di Prato
2 dashes Orange bitter
Below Stairs, Leeds
Vesper Martini interpretation - Our Lass
Martini interpretation - Pagala
Garnish: Pickled trimmed spring onion
Glass: Nick and Nora
45ml Plymouth Gin
15ml Ginger Wine
2 drops Maggi Seasoning