The sweet taste of success? Search for country’s best mixologist begins in Manchester with cocktail competition

By Matt Scrafton

Cocktail aficionados will be licking their lips in anticipation as a nationwide search for the best mixers begins in Manchester.

The UK Bartenders Guild National Competition, which is in its 80th year, looks to find the best mixologists in the country with heats taking place in London, Brighton and Manchester.

The second heat is being held on Monday in Epernay, a champagne bar situated in Manchester’s city centre.

The regional winners will battle it out in the London final to win a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa in 2014 to represent the UK in the International Bartenders Association World Final.

Manager of Epernay bar, Joannes van Goetham – known to friends as ‘Barry’ – said the competition would bring the international spotlight on the bar.

“It’s always good to have brands use our beautiful venue, it will be fantastic for us,” he said.

“It should be a great showcase of the talent in the area. I just hope the sun stays out.”

The competition, sponsored by worldwide brand Bénédictine Liqueur, tests the creativity of competitors who are tasked with creating their own cocktail.

Their creation must include a minimum of 25ml of Bénédictine, a French liqueur that was created by a monk in the 16th century.

Its recipe consists of 27 herbs and spices, infused with saffron, honey and caramel in a process that takes two years to complete.

Judges will test the creations for taste, as well as assessing the creator’s knowledge of their liqueur alongside their profession.

Paul Curry, Bénédictine Brand Manager, said: “The UKBG National Cocktail Competition is a fantastic event to be involved in, and with Bénédictine’s distinctive flavour being a great ingredient for cocktails, we really can’t wait to see what the high calibre of professionals have up their sleeves.

“We’ve held competitions in Manchester before and entries have always been of an exceptional standard.

“So we’re looking forward to what the mixologists of Manchester can provide for us this time.”

Entrants must be members of the UKBG to compete and the £35 entry fee has now been waived so any bartender can enter.

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Picture courtesy of ambernambrose, with thanks.

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