The 1800 Visionaries cocktail competition has crowned Beaufort Bar's Alex Walker its champion.
Walker's Impresario, inspired by the Savoy, wowed the judges. Bartenders across the UK were given the brief to create a cocktail for the inhabitants of an iconic building, either real or fictional. Walker, understandably, chose the Savoy Hotel.
'Since 1889 the Savoy has been the home of high standards, history, luxury, indulgence, extravagance and innovation. Hosting royalty, celebrities and more so making every single guest that enters the hotel feel like a King or Queen,' he said.
'I wanted to focus on something that the Savoy is well known for, indulgence. As soon as they enter the hotel the guests senses are heightened as they are met with the smell of crisp newspapers in the lobby from the concierge desk, fresh coffee in the Thames Foyer, deep leather and oak aromas as well as gold to highlight the exquisite décor, finishing with and decadent aroma of sweet fruit from the hotel rooms.'
The 1800 Visionaries comp takes its name and inspiration from the upcoming launch of the 1800 Tequila Essential Artist Series. Each year, artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring have their work emblasoned on the 1800 bottle as limited editions.
This year, 1800 Tequila is collaborating with artist Enoc Perez, known for his paintings of modernist buildings. Enoc’s work for 1800 Tequila features six buildings from across the world, including London’s ‘Gherkin’.
Back to the competition: 1800 Tequila wanted to test bartender’s conceptual skills as well as their bartending skills so not only did they need to think about the drink itself – its ingredients, taste, appearance and garnish but they also needed to consider the journey or experience that they wished the inhabitants of their chosen building to have, when drinking the cocktail.
Six finalists were selected from across the UK. These finalists were asked to create their cocktails for Thinking Drinkers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, Jane Ryan from Barlife UK, and Proximo Spirit’s tequila specialist, Oliver Pergl.
Impresario ticked the boxes in terms of presentation, balance, taste, creativity and how well the drink represented the brief.
Walker's prize? An all-expenses paid trip to Mexico in May.
Method: The first four of the below ingredients are pre-combined and cooked with cinnamon and vanilla to create *Peau d' Espange.
Peau d' Espange is strained, filtered, cooled and added to mixing glass with the crème de banana along with ice then stirred and strained in to coupe with banana paint on it and then sprayed with ‘Lobby Essence’.
30ml 1800 Anejo
10ml Crème de banana