Ultimate Winners, Cocktail Week and Top Gin Bartenders

Word is out from the 2010 Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, and here are the winners, selected by a panel of judges that included Dale DeGroff, Dave Wondrich, Jacques Bezuidenhout and some of America’s best bartenders. The judges evaluated how, for example, different gins perform in five classic gin cocktails like the Dry Martini, Gin & Tonic, Aviation, Tom Collins and Negroni. In order to promote a level playing field, the panel did not know the identity of any of the spirits. Each cocktail was created using the recipes listed on the UBC website (www.ultimate-beverage.com). The highest scoring spirit (on a 100-point scale) in each cocktail was awarded the Chairman’s Trophy.

Ultimate Cocktail Challenge judges

Chairman’s Trophy winners:

Best gin in a(n)…
Aviation: Tanqueray No. 10
Dry Martini, Negroni and Tom Collins: Tanqueray London Dry
Gin & Tonic: Plymouth

Best vodka in a…
Bloody Mary: Vermont White
Cosmo: Chopin
Vodka Martini: Orzel
Vodka Tonic: Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Best tequila in a…
Margarita made with Cointreau: Milagro Reposado
Paloma: Tres Agaves Reposado
Tequila Sunrise: Tres Agaves Blanco

Best rum in a…
Daiquiri: Banks 5 Island
Mai Tai: Plantation Grande Reserve
Mojito: Don Q Cristal

Best Cognac/brandy in a…
Brandy Alexander and Brandy Julep: Martell Cordon Bleu
Sidecar: Rémy Martin VSOP
Stinger: Rémy Martin VS

Best Scotch whisky in a…
Blood & Sand and Scotch Sour: Highland Park 12
Rob Roy and Rusty Nail: Macallan Fine Oak 10

Best North American whiskey in a(n)…
Manhattan, Mint Julep and Sazerac: Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye
Old-Fashioned and Whiskey Sour: Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon

Best orange liqueur in a…
Cosmopolitan and Margarita: Cointreau
Sidecar: Patron Citronge

Find a complete list of scores and details of the competition here.

Thursday marks the start of World Cocktail Week, held in cities around the world, from New York to Sydney, May 6-13. The event aims to promote better understanding and appreciation of the art of the cocktail and its history, as well as responsible drinking. The finale event will be held at the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans on May 13 from 5-8 p.m., featuring Chris McMillian and Dale DeGroff creating the world’s largest Fire & Ice Mint Julep. For more information on the event, visit museumoftheamericancocktail.org/WCD/.

G’Vine selected 12 global finalists in the G’Vine Connoisseur Program, also known as the search for the world’s most outstanding gin bartender. In June the finalists head to Paris and Cognac, France, for five days of competition, vying for the first-ever title of “G’Vine Gin Connoisseur.” Finalists are:

Brian Mac Gregor,
Jardiniere, San Francisco
Damien Aries, Buddha Bar, Paris
Javier Bravo, Long Island Bar, Cork, Ireland
Martin Lange, Sling Lounge, West End, Australia
Mohamed Falil din Jayah, Skyview Bar, Burj al Arab, Dubai, UAE
Nick Nemeth, Johnny Rocco`s Italian Grill, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Oron Lerner, Shila restaurant, Tel Aviv
Rob Poulter, Mix bar, Reading, UK
Ryan Duvenage, Barcode Bar Academy, South Africa
Spyros Patsialos, Faltso Bar, Athens, Greece
Stephan Hinz, Shepheard Bar, Cologne, Germany
Stefanos Paraskevoudis, The Small Bar, Thessaloniki, Greece

To become finalists, the bartenders passed exams supervised and graded by Philip Duff, an award-winning speaker, trainer, author and mixologist and the owner of Liquid Solutions Bar & Beverage Consulting and door 74 in Amsterdam. Gaz regan will serve as the finalists' coach during the finale week in France, prepping them for technical challenges including nosing, speed drink making and pouring, as well as the written exam on the gin category. In addition to the first-ever title of “G’Vine Gin Connoisseur,” the winning bartender will receive a year‘s supply of G’Vine, $3,000 and a trip for two through Amsterdam, London and Paris to explore the past, present and future of gin.

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