Updated: Thursday, 13th August 2020 @ 11:08am

Best bartender in the North: G’Vine Gin crowns Manchester mixologist champion in prelims for global quest

Best bartender in the North: G’Vine Gin crowns Manchester mixologist champion in prelims for global quest

By Phil Jones

The best mixologist in the North was crowned at Epernay Champagne Bar on Monday in the preliminary round for a global quest to find the world’s best bartender.

Jamie Jones, 29, of Manchester, won with his cocktail La Floraison d’être, to earn a place in this summer’s week-long final at a 16th Century French manor.

He beat stiff competition from six of the North’s best bartenders in G’Vine Gin’s worldwide Connoisseur Program (GCP), earning praise for his engaging, knowledgeable presentation and the innovation of his cocktail.

“I’m very excited indeed to have won, it’s an incredible opportunity – it could be a career changing prize,” he said.

“I’ve been working on my drink for two weeks solid, I’ve made it many times to make sure I got the specifics right.”

A twist on a gin sour, La Floraison d’être combined egg white, lemon juice, sugar, G’Vine’s Floraison gin and pink peppercorns for a touch of spice.

But added to the mix was a dash of olive oil, giving the cocktail a silky feel in the mouth, and the whole thing was finished with a spritz of Mr Jones’ homemade rose perfume.

“Olive oil isn’t a common ingredient in cocktails but it adds an extra velvety, voluptuous taste,” added Mr Jones.

“I wanted to do something very different, to take the sour, which is quite a common drink with a variety of spirits, but give it a further dimension with the added silkiness.”

CHAMPION MIXOLOGISTS: The North West's top three bartenders, winner Jamie Jones in the centre

Running since 2010, the GCP is considered one of the world’s toughest bartending competitions and had an added element this year.

The 2013 edition is searching for a potential ambassador for G’Vine, with the overall winner getting the chance to represent the brand at global cocktail and bar conventions.

“The brand is doing a lot to get its own personality across through bartenders, but also giving them an opportunity get a foot up in their career,” said Mr Jones.

“The big prize is about representing the brand, so I made sure I dressed appropriately and made my table about theatre and communication with the customers.”

G’Vine’s unconventional French gin is made from grape spirit rather than the usual grain, and infused with the vine flower or Floraison.

The brand’s representative, Jamie Walker, thinks Mr Jones’ has all the right qualities to become a brand ambassador, and said his palette stood out to the judges.

“Jamie created a cocktail that showed he really understood the liquid,” said Mr Walker.

“The art of creating a cocktail is about not masking the flavours of the spirit you want to hero – it’s about elevating its characteristics.

And Manchester’s reputation for combining great bars with the best bartenders is why Mr Walker chose to hold the GCP Northern preliminary in the city.

“Manchester has the most vibrant exciting bars in the UK at the moment,” he added.

“I’ve worked in London for a period of time, Glasgow and Edinburgh are up there but the reason we chose Manchester is that it just has fantastic bartenders.

“Look at the quality of bartenders that came for this competition, we couldn’t have been happier.”

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