I was lucky enough to be invited along on the day by Dan, one of the ten finalists in the UK, who got through to the top five with his take on a G&T; Portal to Exploration.
On the eve of the world final, I caught up with Dan at Heddon Street Kitchen to talk cocktails and the competition.
The small but carefully crafted cocktail list features 18 drinks – 10 of which are new, following the first menu change a few months after opening. Dan’s WMIBUK winning cocktail, Age of Discovery, also features. It’s a deliciously rich drink designed to enhance all the flavours of Bombay Sapphire. Featuring Darjeeling tea syrup, lemon, marjoram, Indian Dhania infused chestnut honey, and olive Oil, this drink is small, powerful and fragrant, which lasts on the tongue.
Age of Discovery features on Heddon Street Kitchen’s current cocktail menu, which recently changed for the first time since opening. N.B. They’ll give you a full one – I drank most of mine in eagerness before taking a picture.
So what makes him a strong prospect for World’s Most Imaginative Bartender? “I’ve always been good with flavours, but I really found a new creativity when I started working in bars”, says Dan. Clearly it runs in the family; his mum is a “great cook” and his sister a former chef.
A huge part of this challenge (and ultimately, what every cocktail should be) is to create something innovative, something that showcases the spirit and ultimately looks good and tastes great. It’s clear that Dan has the eye, nose and, erm, taste to create pretty special (and now award-winning!) cocktails.
Now get down to Heddon Street Kitchen and try one for yourself.