Australian Jason Williams of 'The Rook' bar in Sydney was announced as the overall winner of the third annual Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition at the end of last week.

Williams took out the Grand Finale at 9 Grosvenor Place in London, winning an all-expenses trip to one of Beefeater’s key global markets, where he will experience the local bartending culture and gain first-hand knowledge of Beefeater’s presence within the international market.

A former Australian Bartender of the Year, Williams beat 25 finalists with his ‘Werewolves of London’ cocktail, which impressed the judges with its blend of Beefeater 24 gin, orange and peach liquor, lemon juice and frankincense bitters, finished off with a green tea mist.  

The competition, which is renowned for inspiring bartenders across the globe, attracted more entrants than ever before, with 26 countries taking part including Hong Kong, the USA, Japan and the UK – almost double the number of countries participating in 2012.

This year’s judging panel included some of the most revered experts in the industry: New York-based bartender, Jim Meehan, of renowned cocktail den, Please Don’t Tell (PDT); world-renowned mixologist, Tony Conigliaro; leading bars and drinks writer, Lucy Britner; award-winning food writer, Chris Hirst; Head Chef of London restaurant The Rib Room, Ian Rudge and Beefeater Master Distiller, Desmond Payne. [continued below]

L-R: Tim Stones (Beefeater Global Ambassador), Jason Williams, Desmond Payne (Master Distiller), Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge (Beefeater Global Ambassador).

Having scrutinised the competing bartenders as they presented their signature Beefeater cocktails and put their creativity to the test in a surprise food pairing round, the judges selected eight overall finalists to go through to the final round, with countries including Ireland, France, Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic represented. 

The last round saw the remaining eight contestants tasked with making their cocktail for the guests in attendance at the Grand Finale, with guests then voting for their favourite cocktail. Once the votes were in, the overall scores were calibrated and judges held a final deliberation before Desmond Payne announced Williams as the winner.

Williams said: “I am a huge fan of London gin and for me, no other gin represents the true London gin style better than Beefeater, so winning this competition is a huge honour and a massive surprise for me. I’ve had a great time taking part in the competition – there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst all the competitors and the diversity of the various rounds was fantastic, allowing us to really show off our creativity and the different skills that bartenders need to have to be at the top of the game.”

The grand final of the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition took place at the end of a three-day long trip to London where the finalists were immersed into the London cocktail scene, enjoying the city’s most celebrated bars, touring the Beefeater Distillery and visiting Tea Smith, a must-see destination for tea aficionados.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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