Bartenders from across the island of Ireland converged in The Exchange, the Dublin Westin’s new brasserie and cocktail bar, recently to compete in the first Irish heat of this competition.
Developed by Diageo Reserve Brands, Diageo’s luxury spirits portfolio, its aim is to educate and inspire bartending talent to create exceptional cocktails, service and experiences.
Eleven establishments were selected to take part in the competition’s ‘Bushmills Malts, Johnnie Walker and Classic Malts Whisk(e)y’ heat which marked the beginning of the search and which is one of three category heats taking place over the next seven months.
Dusan Garaj from The Merchant Hotel, Belfast, was named runner-up with his Bushmills 16 Year-Old Single Malt cocktail ‘Island Punch’, as was Michael Patterson from The Spaniard, Belfast, with his Bushmills 10 Year-Old Single Malt cocktail ‘The Lazy Irishman’.
The judging panel including Johnnie Walker and Classic Malts Global Brand Ambassador Gregor Cattanach, Bushmills Distilling Manager Darryl McNally and its Global Ambassador Keith Wood.
The other runners-up included`: Csaba Henter of The Dylan Hotel, Dublin; Goran Jandric of Ice at The Four Seasons Hotel, Dublin; Gillian Boyle of The Mint Bar at The Westin, Dubin; Phil McAlister of Muriels Cafe Bar, Belfast; Tomas Corba of No27 at The Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin; Kerim Mehdi of Saba, Dublin; Shane Nolan of Soho, Dublin and Kevin Bunick of the Sugar Loaf Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry.
Channel Planning Manager for On-Trade Spirits at Diageo Ireland Niamh Henry pointed out that Irish finalists have continued to rank in the top three at the global finals.
“Recent years have witnessed the Whisky and Irish Whiskey categories growing at an phenomenal rate of 6.86 per cent and seven per cent,” she said, “At the forefront of this revival is the whisk(e)y cocktail and while it can be seen as a challenging spirit for many today, our Irish competitors showed just how easy it is to create some world class cocktails with a little flair and technique.”