Bigger cities have lots of competitions like these. Bombay Sapphire is the only one doing something like this so far in the Twin Cities. For bartenders, it's kind of like our Oscars. I imagine other liquor companies will soon make in-roads, but I think we will remember who was first and thank Bombay Sapphire for the years of great memories and fun.
Last year along with Milo Rodiguez, one of the two global brand ambassadors, I got to sample some cocktails from the very best Twin Cities bartender/mixologists. I guess it's either a testament to Milo, or the fact that I work too much, that it ranked as one of the highlights of my summer. It was a rare treat to have three days to pick the brain of an Oxford educated guy who spent six months a year traveling the globe checking out cocktail culture. Milo's no longer with the company, so this year I was stuck with Bombay's new Midwest brand ambassador Nick Kosevich (Ha!-JK) an ex-Town Talk bartender and co-founder of Bittercube Bitters.
It has been interesting to see the growth and progression of our finest local mixologists from last year and also to check out some of the new players. There were almost 30 contestants in the first round this year, which we split into two nights of tasting, as it's important the judges don't black out. For real. We had the extremely difficult job of picking our five favorite cocktails for the final round, held Tuesday, August 2nd. The winner will represent us in September in Las Vegas for the National Finals, where the winner from that will travel to London for the international competition.
There were lots of great cocktails, although one really stood out to both Nick and myself as something special (sorry, no hints). We'll see what Bombay Sapphire Master Mixologist Gary Hayward thinks when he shows up for the finals tasting. I'll keep you posted ...