The UK Bartenders Guild has named Matteo Basso of the Malt Lounge & Bar in London the champion of its National Cocktail Competition.
Having made it through regional heats and the Grand Final, Basso will now represent the UK at the IBA World Cocktail Championship in Russia.
The final, which took place at the Prince Akatoki Hotel in London, saw 15 competitors from across the UK battle it out over multiple rounds for the title.
Competitors recreated their initial sake recipe submission, created a Gin Fizz recipe and took part in a customer service round.
Basso shone with his two winning recipes - the Sake cocktail ‘Yon’ (Akashi-tai Honjozo Genshu Tokubetsu, Akashi-tai umeshu, sugar syrup, teapot bitters) and Gin Fizz ‘Enogu’ (135° East Gin, flavoured rice syrup, citrus blend, soda), along with his performance in the customer service round.
The London-based bartender wins a trip to Japan, the drinks culture of which was a focus of the competition, in particular developing knowledge of sake, whisky and gin.
Gabor Molnar of the Pig on the Beach Hotel, Swanage came in second, winning a custom bartender’s kit, while Tom Kirk of Below Stairs in Leeds came third, taking home a set of Akashi Sake Brewery and Kaikyo Distillery products.
The team of judges consisted of Claudia Carrozzi, UKBG President; Giorgio Bargiani, head mixologist at The Connaught Bar; Lawrence Woodrow-Smith, drinks development manager at the Domino Club in Leeds and UKBG NCC2019 Winner; and Scott Paine, national account manager at Marussia Beverages. The event was hosted by UKBG vice president Declan McGurk.