Once a year the producers of Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin set out in search of not just the best cocktail in the country, but the nation's best maker of mixed drinks as well. To the winner of the nationwide search, they award the best of the best in inebriate invention with not only the title of Most Inspired Bartender but an advertorial spread in GQ magazine as well.
Now in its sixth year, the folks behind Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin are once again looking for the most imaginative mixologist in the U.S. and they're coming to Detroit in hopes of finding a few new candidates.
Those that are selected from the competition that will take place at Royal Oak's 5th Avenue on 8/13 will go on to compete with others that are chosen from cities around the country at the contest's final in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If a free trip to Sin City wasn't enough to make competing in this contest a big enough draw, the company presenting the contest has decided to heighten the stakes this year as well. The liquor producers are bringing a little something new into the mix (see what I did there?), featuring a new, yet-to-hit-the-shelves product, Bombay Sapphire East Gin.
Much akin to its big brother, the newest addition to the brand's family has all the standard botanicals present in Bombay Sapphire Dry with added notes of lemongrass and black pepper, making it an even fuller flavor than the original.
And although being one of the first bartenders in the country to work with the new product sounds pretty exciting, allowing for lots of new ideas and creativity, there are some pitfalls as well, considering contestants have yet to test the product on the public.
Scored on practicality, taste, appearance and overall impression, drink makers are allowed to choose from several different styles of cocktails including pre-dinner, after-dinner, classic, summer and avant-garde. Creating two drinks of between 3 and 11 ounces, contestants can build their drinks in a standard glass, stir in a mixing glass, shake, double-strain or blend their drinks using as many as four different types of alcoholic ingredients along with fruit juices, dairy products (yep, including eggs) as well as carbonated beverages and vapors.
Judged by a Brand Ambassador and up to three additional judges, final scores will be derived from the combination of the lead judge's scores as well as those granted by blind judges.
Open to the public, event manager Whitney Foley promises the contest will be entertaining for not just those participating, but folks who'd like to be spectators as well.
"We want it to be a fun atmosphere. Family and friends are absolutely welcome to come support their favorite bartender," says Foley.
Chosen by Bombay Sapphire's sales team as well as Bacardi and TEAM Enterprises recruiters, up to 30 bartenders are tapped to participate in the contest, according to Foley.
Of those 30, though, only one will be chosen as Michigan's winner. But, that contestant will be moving on to the final in Las Vegas, representing our state as one of the best bartenders in the country. Cash prizes will be awarded to runners-up as well, but there is something more in store for drink makers that won't be making the trip to the city of sin.
"We have had a few bartenders that did not win the have become Bombay Sapphire Ambassadors for us," says Foley. "They travel all over the U.S. to discuss Bombay Sapphire with accounts and bartenders." | RDW
2012 Most Inspired Bartender Competition • 7 p.m., 8/13 • 5th Avenue • 215 W 5th Ave, Royal Oak • 248.629.9423 • fifthavenueroyaloak.com