Bols Around the World Bartending Championship

Words by Simon Difford

The Bols Around the World Grand Final was held in the imposing Het Transformator Huis, a huge industrial space in Amsterdam on 20 May 2014. Here the eight finalists, drawn from the over 3,000 bartenders who registered around the world and submitted over 1,100 recipes, competed in front of a live audience and viewers around the world who watched as the event was streamed live over the Internet.

The eight finalists competed head to head across four heats:

1st heat
Antonio Lai Chun Nam from Quinary bar, Hong Kong
Katerina Babich from Tao bar, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

2nd heat
Yukiko Watanabe from The Prince Park Tower Tokyo Sky Lounge Stellar Garden, Tokyo, Japan
Jack Sotti from Eau de Vie, Melbourne, Australia

3rd heat
Elliot Ball from Steam & Rye bar, London
Frederic LaFontaine from B1 Bar, Montreal, Canada

4th heat
Kate Gerwin from Imbibe/Barmagic of Las Vegas, Albuquerque, USA
Airto Cramer from Tales & Spirits, Amsterdam

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In the break between the heats and the results, Fair Bartending World Champions Tomek & Marek performed a mesmerising live show while viewers around the world voted for their favourite competitor as follows:

23.5% Fred Lafontaine (Canada)
17.9% Kate Gerwin (USA)
14.7% Elliot Ball (UK)
11.9% Katerina Babich (Russia)
11.1% Airto Cramer (Netherlands)
11.1% Jack Sotti (Australia)
4.9% Antonio Lai (Hong Kong)
4.8% Yukiko Watanabe (Japan)

Not swayed by the above, the judges, who had the benefit of watching from the stage and sampling each of the competitors' cocktails, pronounced Kate Gerwin from the USA the winner. A pronouncement which the live audience, who'd also been able to sample each drink, appeared to agree with.

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Kate Gerwin's winning drink contained: Bols Cacao Brown, Bols Natural Yoghurt, spiced almond milk and walnut bitters. She won herself a 10-day global tour, with guest shifts in top bars along the way. The recipes from each competitor are:

Frédéric Lafontaine
Cocktail: Infusion Cocktail
Glass: Teacup
Garnish: Lemon zest twist
Method: Very lightly STIR all ingredients with crushed ice and fine strain content into tea cup.

1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz Bols Green Tea
1/4 oz Branca Menta
3 oz Cold green tea

Kate Gerwin
Cocktail: Brown Chicken, Brown Cacao
Glass: Small milk jug
Garnish: Top with Bols Cacao White Foam & grated nutmeg. Candy striped straw.
Method: In a ISI container rapid infuse cacao and yoghurt with cardamom, cinnamon, star anise. Then strain and combine with remaining ingredients in a perlini. Shake, carbonate and strain into milk jug glass.

20 ml Bols Cacao Brown
50 ml Bols Natural Yoghurt
30 ml spire infused almond milk
4 dashes black walnut bitters
30 ml Bols Cacao White
½ tsp cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods

Elliot Ball
Cocktail: Pangaean Roots
Garnish: Lemon twist, rose petal, cardamom pod, on rim.
Method: Muddle, shake and strain.

40 ml Bols Genever
20 ml Bols Parfait Amour
20 ml fresh lime juice
10 ml Bols Dry Orange Curacao
10 ml Bols Vanilla
10 ml bergamot-violet-mallow hydrosol
2 paper-thin coins fresh ginger
Seeds of 2 small cardamom pods

Katerina Babich
Cocktail: Nice Cream
Glass: Ice-cream cones
Method: BLEND all ingredients and place in creamer and charge with 2 cream cartridges. Dispense into waffle ice-cream cones. (a 500ml siphon 500 fills 5-6 waffle cones)

100 ml Bols Natural Yoghurt liqueur
100 ml Bols Elderflower
75 ml Bols Advocaat
100ml Cream 35%
10 ml Lemon juice

Airto Cramer
Cocktail: A Song of Ice & Fire
Glass: Rocks
Garnish: Tattooed orange zest
Method: Blaze & throwing

60 ml Bols Corenwyn 6 jaar
5 ml Bols Honey
15 ml Spiced Red Wine Syrup
2 dashes Fee Brothers Barrel-aged whiskey bitters

Jack Sotti
Cocktail: The G"aarde"n Cocktail
Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Rose and "earth" essence. Serve on clay coaster.
Method: Pour over infusion. (Build drink in watering can, pour into plant clay pot filled with botanicals including: Juniper and cocoa nibs. Collect cocktail from drainage hole on the bottom of the clay pot. Stir with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.

20ml Bols Barrel Aged Genever
20ml Cynar
20ml Fino Sherry
20ml Galliano Authentico
2 dashes orange blossom water
1 dash Jerry Thomas decanter bitters

Antonio Lai
Cocktail: Honey Me Honey Tea
Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Grapefruit zest twist
Method: Measure all ingredients into a Perlini shaker, add ice, secure and shake hard. Leave to rest for 5 seconds, release and pour into cocktail glass.

40 ml Bols Genever
5 ml Bols Honey
30 ml Vanilla Ceylon tea cordial*
1 drop Grapefruit bitters

*Vanilla Ceylon tea cordial
8g tea leaves : 200g hot water (brew for 5 minutes)
Strain tea from leaves and add 3g citric acid with 85g fine white sugar. Stir well, cool and bottle, ready to use.

Yukiko Watanabe
Cocktail: Balmy Sailing - Link the World
Glass: Wine
Garnish: Rim glass with Bols Honey and granulated sugar. On the drink place red pepper dressed with concentrated Bols Red Orange.
Method: POUR sparkling sake into wine glass and then Bols Blue. BLEND last 3 ingredients with crushed ice and layer on top of sake and blue curaçao.

40 ml Sparkling sake
10 ml Bols Blue liqueur
30 ml Bols Genever
30 ml Bols Natural Yoghurt liqueur
30 ml Apple puree

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