Following an exciting competition, Nathan O’Neill of The Merchant Hotel bar in Belfast won this year’s Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Grand Final in London. Beefeater 24 created the competition to inspire and challenge the bartending community, inviting international bartenders to compete in national finals for the chance to take part in the Grand Final in Beefeater’s home city.
Fourteen finalists from around the world travelled to London to compete in the Grand Final on the 28th November. As part of the event, Beefeater 24 set a series of challenges to assess contestants on the variety of areas that make up a well-rounded bartender. Challenges included a cocktail photoshoot to test the finalists’ styling skills, an interview with an international cocktail blogger to assess their knowledge and charisma, and a timed food pairing task to test their resourcefulness and understanding of flavour.
The Grand Final culminated in an exciting cocktail tasting event at which guests, including some of the best-known UK-based international bartenders and cocktail writers, voted for their favourite Beefeater 24 tea cocktail. At the end of the event Desmond Payne, the creator and Master Distiller of Beefeater 24, announced Nathan as the 2012 winner.
Nathan will be added to the Beefeater 24 ‘Hall of Fame’ at the Beefeater Distillery. He will also receive an all expenses paid trip to Japan with Beefeater International Brand Ambassador, Sebastian Hamilton Mudge. During the trip Nathan will experience first-hand the Japanese tea and local bartending culture that inspired Desmond Payne in the creation of Beefeater 24.
Desmond comments, ‘The competition has provided a thrilling example of the creativity and skill of the bartending community around the world. I have been delighted by the passion of the competitors and the way in which they have combined an in-depth knowledge of cocktails with innovative new techniques. This year’s competition has highlighted how far cocktail making has evolved to create truly remarkable drinking experiences.’