Two bartenders from The Edgbaston make cocktail competition final

on April 29, 2017

Birmingham’s The Edgbaston Hotel and Cocktail bar had two of their bartenders make the GB World Class finals.

World Class is one of the world’s renowned cocktail competitions, representing over fifty nations at the Global Finals.

To reach the Global Final, in Mexico City, Thomas Matthews and James Bowker will need to win the Diageo World Class Great Britain Final, which will take place in June.

Getting to the semi-final stage, Thomas and James created a cocktail that fitted into ‘future trends’ for the food and drinks industry. Bending the rules ever so slightly, the two each made a mini menu of three cocktails to showcase their creativity.

Thomas’ drinks were aimed at making whisky cocktails more appealing to people who usually drink white spirits. Whereas James offered cocktails that had a personal touch. He tailored his drink’s taste to particular memories with different family members

Both won over the visiting World Class judges and were selected to progress to the semi-finals.

What happens at a cocktail making competition?

For the boys, the semi-final was a day full of challenges to test every aspect of bartending. Tom recalled being a “bag of nerves”. On entrance to the room filled with ’50 of the UK’s best’ he said: “it was so great meeting everyone on arrival. People I look up to and massively respect”.

The first challenge was a test on their knowledge of vodka. It began with blind tasting of six vodkas and contestants had to work out the ingredients of the vodka and then followed with written tests on the production process and history of vodka.

Next was the ‘Road to Jalisco’ challenge. Again beginning with blind tasting, this time with four tequila cocktails. Each one containing an unusual ingredient which had to be worked out. Also while blindfolded, contestants were asked to identify 12 native Mexican flavours by taste alone. Lastly, they had to present the judges with a cocktail containing Mexican products.

The final challenge was a speed round. Classic cocktails were picked from a hat and had to be perfectly made in five minutes, with the correct technique and cleanness.

Results of the Semi-final were announced during the after party, where a tie had meant James and Thomas progressed to the final.

Tom said: “It’s hard to describe how we felt when they called our names. James was called first, then my name was called last. So many emotions hit me at once”.

3rd year journalism specialist at BCU. Interested in writing articles about sport, business, entertainment and politics with local Birmingham angles.

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