When it comes to London Dry gins (and there are loads of them now) the one we always come back to is Beefeater. One of the original London born ‘n bred gins, Beefeater’s history can be dated back to 1876 and it’s now an iconic British brand that's recognised the world over - and we love it.
Now in its fifth edition, the Beefeater MIXLDN Global Bartender Competition is a big gin deal and this year’s competition has gone more global than ever before! Bartenders from 32 countries across the world have taken a classic gin recipe and re-worked it using modern London and Beefeater gin as the inspiration. The national finals have been judged by international gin experts and Beefeater global brand ambassadors, Tim Stones and Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge as well as Beefeater Master Distiller Desmond Payne -and there are some mega looking drinks coming out of this.
There are 32 finalists who have made it through to the Global Finals that are being judged at the end of January: here they are with the killer cocktails that got them this far.
Maya Van Damme, Belgium
Sharing a name with Belgian hero Jean Claude Van Damme is only the beginning with Maya. Her drink is inspired by Alice in Wonderland’s tea party; she’s selected Earl Grey as her brew of choice and will serve her drink with a side of biscuits. Nice.
Maria-Margarita Gelemenova, Bulgaria
With a name like that this kid was born to make drinks. Hailing from the Bulgarian capital Sofia where she works at the Happy Pig, she's identified London as a multicultural haven, inspired by its dynamic nature. Expect her drink to be colourful and rich in flavour.
Yan Tung Evelyn Chick, Canada
Born in Hong Kong, Evelyn runs the show at The Harbord Room in Toronto. Keeping things simple with a four ingredient drink served in a Nick & Nora glass, the “Endless English Summers” takes inspiration from that moment you surface from rush hour madness to the bright and airy London parks above.
Janson Chan, China
Janson was born in Hong Kong and now works at notoriously good (and truly well-hidden) speakeasy Speak Low in Shanghai. He’s taken the classic cocktail "Pegu Club", and inspired by the greatness of three cities Hong Kong, Shanghai and London, he’s created a colonial cocktail called the "Victoria Club". Boom.
Juan Egea Quiroga aka "Camilo Egea", Columbia
Bringing some South American spice to the competition is Camilo Egea who works at speakeasy hangout "The Blind Tiger" in Bogota. His drink is inspired by Virginia Woolf, East London, a touch of Camden and some Saffron Hill to bring the drink "Woolf's Saffron Lady" to the party.
Aloisek Martinez, Cuba
You've gotta be good with some Cuban blood in you, it’s the birthplace of the Daiquiri and Mojito and continues to have a great bar scene. Taking inspiration from the “Hanky Panky” cocktail born in The Savoy, the first Beefeater distillery in Chelsea and a touch of a Cuban cigar, Aloisek will make the “Chelsea Hanky Punch”!
Frank Thelen, Germany
From the Roomers Bar in Cologne, Frank looked to one of the most recognisable sites in London, Trafalgar Square, for a bit of vision. He's also added a German touch to his drink by infusing Lillet Blanc with pumpernickel bread!
Miloš Danihelka, Czech Republic
Currently Principle Bartender and Bar Manager at Prague favourite L'Fleur Bar, he's found his inspiration at The Savoy Hotel and its ability to house two very different but two of the greatest bars in London: the American and the Beaufort bars. His drink will be named the “B’Lady”.
Martin Clausen, Denmark
Martin hails from one of our favourite bars in Copenhagen: Ruby Cocktail Bar is a BarChick hangout to the core. Fusing together tea and modern flavours like freeze-dried raspberry, Martin is serving his drink with a side of ginger cookie crumble. Oh yeah.
Ainar Kiison, Estonia
His drink takes inspiration from the legendary storyteller C.S. Lewis and the Narnia series. The twist? The wardrobe opens up into London and its booming nightlife and culture... the “Aslan's Stroll” sounds right up our street. Something his bar the Neikid Resto would be proud of.
Kelly Ballett, France
This Brit shakes her drinks at Lulu White in the Pigalle district of Paris. She looked to the smoke-filled skies and murky streets of Charles Dickens’ days for inspiration, making her drink with the unusual ingredient fermented-chinook-smoked-hop-syrup.
Wing Yi Lam, Hong Kong
Dorothy (to her mates) is British but lives in Hong Kong and works at the Tapas Bar, Kowloon Shangri-La. Her bittersweet drink is a nod to the humour of London’s great Charlie Chaplin whose appeal evolves through time but never grows old in style. We hear you, sister.
Carl D'alton, Ireland
Repping Folk House Bar, a true Irish drink destination, Carl has done his homework and noted that 2016 marks the 350-year anniversary of the Great Fire of London. Expect fewer flames but a tasty nod to Pudding Lane where the fire broke out, in his aptly named “London’s Burning” cocktail.
Maria Mordvinov, Israel
Born in Kazakhstan but now working in one of Tel Aviv's sexiest boutique hotels, Maria’s noted another London stalwart of drink production – the Fuller's Griffin Brewery, which is one of the capital’s last remaining family breweries. She’s popped it in her “B-Honey” cocktail with Beefeater 24. Cheers!
Al Igarashi, Japan
Al is from Bar Trench in Tokyo, not only a bar but a tiny jazz venue and book library in one. Noting that London’s food scene is rapidly changing, she wanted a drink that complemented the capital’s best dishes so she’s made her drink to be served with a side of fillet steak. Our kind of chick.
Edward Khattar, Lebanon
Head Bartender at one of Beirut’s most banging pubs, Eddy noted that in the past Beefeaters were treated to eating fine steak whilst civilians ate cheaper greens. "The Green Eater" fuses rocket leaves, parmesan, balsamic and lemon juice with Beefeater and is a nod to the people of London.
Claudia Rodriguez, Mexico
Having never visited London, Claudia has been inspired by articles and videos of the food and drink scene here. Reading about the ever-changing cocktail menus, world class bars and gin cocktails, her drink is a simple twist on the classic “Gin Sour”, infusing Beefeater London Dry with basil and tea.
Jessie Algar, New Zealand
All the way over from Foxglove Kitchen and Bar, Jessie looked at how much the London parks delight and serve all classes of people and came up with her take on a gin Old Fashioned. The edible garnish is a nod to our growing love for foraging – edible flowers anyone?
Slavomi Kytka, Norway
Running the show at Oslo's The Thief Bar, this guy has observed the multi-cultural side of London and recreated it in a drink. Each of his ingredients represents a different country and when mixed in a sherry glass they work together, just like London does.
Katerina Babich, Russia
From one of St Petersburg’s best hang outs, Tipplers Bar, Katerina had a recollection of those foggy, cold mornings that Londoners are way too used to. Expertly turning this vision into a cool and cloudy drink, "The Cloudy Beefeater" has a candy floss garnish – could we ask for anything more?
Filip Ivanovic, Serbia
Filip is representing Bobo’s Bar all the way from Serbia! He took inspiration from all of London’s quirks and when it came to London’s famous cocktails, aside from the Punch, Julep and the Collins, he finally settled on making a variation of a Flip. The “Bishop’s Flip” is a cracking mix of Bishop and Gimlet cocktails.
Martin Zupina, Slovakia
London’s first Beefsteak Club opened in 1705 and fed high society amazing grilled beef and baked potatoes. With this in the back of his mind, Martin infused vermouth with fennel, lemon, rosemary and green pepper to create his “Roastbeefeater” cocktail – Sunday lunch will never be the same again.
Brent Perremore, South Africa
Having learnt his skills in 90's London, we're looking forward to some throwbacks from Brent. We've noted a quail egg and fruit loops in the mix so we can’t wait to see what this South African from the Kloof Street house is going to fix up.
Jun Beom Park, South Korea
Willy, as he likes to be known, has made this drink for all those hard workers out there, all the early risers and those late to bed and most importantly the Beefeaters who work 12 hour days. The “London Reviver” is what he hopes will take him to the top!
Carlos Vega, Spain
From Madrid's Olé Lola bar, Carlos has taken inspiration from the evolution of the British Princess for his cocktail. Think less Cinderella and more Kate with some delicious sounding rhubarb infused Cointreau and cucumber egg white in the mix.
Johan Evers, Sweden
A city where all corners of the world exist was the idea behind this concoction from Johan, who works at Ling Long & Hard Waters. Beefeater washed in olive oil, a touch of olive tincture and olive brine have all been added to make the “Warder’s Gift”.
Joe Schofield, London
A bartender from The Savoy can only mean good things, and this one has mad skills to prove it. Joe looked to 24 Milk Street, the previous residence of London’s first cookery writer Isabella Beeton, as his starting point. He adopted her technique of burning milk and popped it into his cocktail "Mother’s Milk", served adorably short in a little coupette.
Karen Grill, USA
All the way from the US of A baby! Karen is repping the bar Sassafras Saloon and headed to Brick Lane to seek inspiration for her drink the “Raja Fizz”. The Indian influence is there with coconut milk, cardamom bitters and coconut milk. Different… and we like it!
Diogo Martins, Portugal
One of Lisbon’s hottest new bartender takes a look at the historical trade of Port between his home country and London, with a deliciously red “Ruby” cocktail. This one’s a looker and a taster!
Lukas Hochmuth, Austria
Having perfected his love of drinks at the Ritz-Carlton in Vienna, where he now runs both The D-bar and the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar, this guy can make a drink or two. His cocktail is a re-work of a Jerry Thomas (19th-century cocktail ledge) Gin Punch and he's only gone and taken Beefeater 24, infused it with tea and milk washed it. Genius.
Stefano Armiento, Italy
From Bella Italia comes Stefano, who’s heading up the joint at Kioskostiss. Taking inspiration from one of London’s best culinary corners – Brick Lane – his complex cocktail uses South Indian ingredients such as garam masala, almonds and Darjeeling tea.
Natalia Livitsanou, Greece
It takes a brave lady to reinvent a classic like the Dry Martini, and Natalia shows she means business with her cocktail, the “East End Martini”. Complex and balanced this drink represents London’s classic vibe which is always being reinvented.
Check out how the Beefeater MIXLDN finalists are getting on and join the online conversation by using #BeefeaterMIXLDN’
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