CORAL GABLES, Fla., Aug. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On Thursday, August 24, the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) announced New York Regional Finalist, Schuyler Hunton, as its North American "Most Imaginative Bartender" (MIB). The honor was bestowed at the 10th annual bartender competition, sponsored by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, which took place in London for the first-time ever in celebration of the program's 10th Anniversary. After a fiercely competitive three-day cocktail-crafting throwdown, with ten of the top mixologists from across North America, Hunton, a Boston-native, and his winning drink Breakfast in Bombay (recipe below) took home the victory. As a result, Hunton will be featured on a special edition cover of GQ's December "Men of the Year" issue alongside his winning recipe. For the first time this year, Hunton will also embark on a trip to Tuscany to experience and learn about the selection of 10 exotic botanicals that make up BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin.
This year, the MIB program traveled to 33 American cities and 4 cities in Canada to find bartenders who push cocktail artistry to increasingly great heights. Hunton has not only earned glory amongst his peers, but clout within the industry, which will open up myriad opportunities within the bartending world.
On Monday, August 22, the finals kicked off at Laverstoke Mill Distillery, the home BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin. There, the ten competing finalists met to embark on an immersive experience, learning first-hand about the unique vapour-infusion distillation process of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, followed by cocktails outside the picturesque glasshouses that showcase its 10 exotic botanicals. The first day of the competition took place in the heart of London, where the bartenders competed in a "Market Challenge" judged by British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. Detroit-Regional Finalist Alex Chien took home the win, after crafting a cocktail in just 12 minutes from sourcing market fresh ingredients in the surprise "pantry". For the following challenge, "Guest Bar Shift," the finalists were tasked with creating a curated cocktail menu at a top local bar, which earned Hunton extra points for his overall score. Each bartender had the day to source local ingredients throughout London to prepare and batch three different gin-forward cocktail styles: a Gin & Tonic, an aromatic, stirred cocktail, and a long, refreshing cocktail. On Thursday night, during the finals at The Mondrian Hotel, the finalists each presented an original BOMBAY SAPPHIRE cocktail to a packed house of guests as well as the judges for the evening, including New York-based mixologist Pam Wiznitzer, Los Angeles restaurant owner Pablo Moix, San Francisco-based bar partner Jacques Bezuidenhout, Phoenix mixologist and beverage consultant Kim Hassarud, and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward.
After an action-packed evening of sampling creations from the top ten finalists, the judges' ballots determined Hunton and his winning cocktail, Breakfast in Bombay (BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, Compound Grapefruit Earl Grey Oleo, Lemon Juice, and Egg White), as the overall winner of the competition – North America's 2016 Most Imaginative Bartender. Hunton also was named the People Choice Winner for the evening. The night showcased an inspirational art gallery, "10 Years, 10 Cocktails," filled with portraits of the past nine MIB winning recipes crafted from paints created from their corresponding cocktail ingredients.
Hunton said that the journey to London has been nothing short of life-altering: "Standing here tonight amongst such incredible talent from across North America, I am so honored to be recognized for craft. All ten of us take our artistry very seriously, and it's an extraordinary feeling to be recognized for doing what I love. I am thrilled to be joining a roster of such inspiring bartenders from across the country as the 10th winner of the program."
Ned Duggan, VP, Managing Director for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, said: "It's inspiring to celebrate our 10th Anniversary at the home of BOMBAY SAPPHIRE, Laverstoke Mill, and with bartenders of such high caliber. Ten years ago, when BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin started its sponsorship with the USBG for the 'Most Imaginative Bartender Competition,' we couldn't have imagined that USBG's program would have evolved into what it is today. This anniversary is about celebrating USBG's past nine winners, while welcoming our tenth, and reflecting on the annual journey that has uncovered so many incredibly talented bartenders along the way. These creative minds continue to move the industry forward, and we're extremely honored to play a role in identifying the next generation of innovative bartenders throughout North America."
USBG is proud to shine a spotlight on emerging bartending talent across North America while also showcasing BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin. By helping to elevate the artistry of cocktails, the annual program increases both consumer awareness of the brand and appreciation for the industry as a whole.
Schuyler Hunton's winning cocktail recipe:
BREAKFAST IN BOMBAY
2oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
3/4oz Compound Grapefruit Early Grey Oleo
1/2oz Lemon Juice
1/2oz Egg White
About the USBG
The United States Bartenders' Guild is an organization of beverage service professionals dedicated to the continued refinement of our craft. Such refinement is achieved through advanced product education; original hand crafted cocktail competitions; and aggressive involvement with other professionals in the beverage industry throughout the country and internationally. It is our intention, desire and main focus to become the most skilled, knowledgeable and professional group of bartenders in the industry. Above all, the United States Bartenders' Guild supports and promotes well-informed, responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages.
ABOUT BOMBAY SAPPHIRE
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® is the fastest growing premium Gin in the world and world's number one premium Gin by value. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is created with a unique combination of ten hand-selected botanicals, sourced from around the globe. The brand's global essence and signature vapour infusion process impart a refined and perfectly balanced taste, versatile enough for both classic cocktails and exotic recipes. Infused with Imagination, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is a symbol of the exploration of worldly and sophisticated lifestyles. For more information, please explore www.bombaysapphire.com.
BE BRILLIANT AND INSPIRED. DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
©2016. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE AND ITS TRADE DRESS ARE TRADEMARKS.
IMPORTED BY THE BOMBAY SPIRITS COMPANY U.S.A., CORAL GABLES, FL. GIN - 47% ALC. BY VOL.
The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.
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