NYC’s movers and shakers gathered Tuesday night at Midtown’s Lavo Italian restaurant and nightclub for Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Competition.
Vying for the title were Bob Wagner of Seamstress, Dimitri Zahariadis (Shamrock/Vasi’s/Spartan in Connecticut), Brett Hughes of Madame Geneva, Jaime Rios of Boom Boom Room, and Jesse Vida and Gregory Buda, both from the financial district’s Dead Rabbit.
Attendees were invited to sample the competing cocktails, all of which used Bombay Sapphire gin, and vote via token for their favorite. The cocktail creations took innovation to the next level with ingredients as unique as jalepenos and raw egg yolk. Throughout the night, guests snacked on Lavo’s Italian fare including margherita pizza, caprese salad, and fried mozzarella balls. And, of course, there were plenty of Bombay Sapphire house cocktails to go around.
Ultimately, the top prize went to the Dead Rabbit’s Buda, who created “The Laughing Admiral,” a gin based cocktail with mace tincture, homemade almond syrup, nardini acqua di cedro and Christian Drouin Hard Cider.
The panel of judges included Bombay Sapphire North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Raj Nagra, USBG’s Meaghan Doman, and United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Pam Wiznitzer.
Buda will travel to Las Vegas early next month to compete with 28 other bartenders from across the country. The winner will be named “North America’s Most Imaginative Bartender” and will recieve a mock cover feature of GQ‘s “Men of the Year” issue.
“I am truly honored to be recognized for my cocktail,” Buda said, “especially after competing against some of the best bartenders in New York City, many of whom are peers that I respect and admire. The USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin have always done an incredible job of spotlighting emerging bartenders and cultivating our craft. It’s thrilling to be a part of that legacy and I look forward to representing New York City at the North American finals in Vegas!”
Below is the winning creation:
The Laughing Admiral
1.5 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
2 dashes mace tincture
0.25 oz. almond biz (2 orgeat: 1 noyau du poissy)
0.25 oz nardini acqua di cedro
0.5 oz cardamaro
Top with 2.5 oz. of Christian Drouin Hard Cider
Stir and strain.
Garnish: Lemon oils