On Thursday, July 20th, 2017, at Maypop in New Orleans, viewers of Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender Media Mixer watched as journalists were led under the close instruction of a finalist to create their own award-winning cocktail.

Through the competition, journalists stepped into the shoes of the finalists using specific glassware, bar-mixing tools, and an array of ingredients to experience first-hand what it’s like to compete in a cocktail competition.

12 Most Imaginative Bartender Finalists were randomly paired with a journalist to compete in a secret ingredient cocktail competition. Journalists had the opportunity to interact with some of the top bartenders from across the country before they head to London this August to compete for the North American finale.

Paired with one of the finalists as their mentor, the duo picked one of 12 mystery ingredient boxes and had six minutes to create a cocktail with the help from their coach, before presenting the concoction to the judges. Not only were they mentored by some of the most creative minds in the industry, they also were able to experience the artistry and craft that it takes to compete in a cocktail competition while putting their imagination to the test.

The competition was hosted by Bombay Sapphire North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward and judged by Bombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Raj Nagra, Bacardi Portfolio Ambassador Hilary Choo, and 2014 Most Imaginative Bartender and Bartender of the Year nominee Ran Duan.

The 2017 Most Imaginative Bartender Finalists Competing in the Competition:

  • Chris Morris | Houston, TX (Ready Room)
  • Annie Pierce | Columbus, OH (Curio)
  • Adam Robinson | Portland, OR (Deadshut & Expatriate)
  • Seongha Lee | Las Vegas, NV (Zuma)
  • Eric Jeffus | Chicago, IL (Aviary)
  • Eddie DiDonato | Burlington, VT (Leunig’s Bistro, Waterworks Food + Drink)
  • Collin Nicholas | San Francisco, CA (Bellota)
  • Brenda Terry | Tampa, FL (Tampa Yacht & Country)
  • Brittney Olsen | Los Angeles, CA (Breakroom 86)
  • Luis Hernandez | New York, New York (Seamstress)
  • Andrew Lue | Miami, FL (Sugar- East Hotel)
  • Timo Salimaki | Calgary, Canada (The Living Room Restaurant)

After careful deliberation, the judges, Bombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Raj Nagra, Bombay Sapphire North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward, and 2016 Atlanta Most Imaginative Bartender Finalist Trip Sandifer, crowned Natalie Migliarini, editor of Beautiful Booze, as the first-ever winner of the Media Mixer.

Here is the cocktail Chilled magazine’s Jeffrey Greif and Miami MIB Finalist Andrew Lue created:

Vacation in Miami

Vacation in Miami

Vacation in Miami

Created by Jeffery Greif and Miami MIB Finalist Andrew Lue

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germain
  • Ginger Beer
  • 2 pieces Fresh Pineapple
  • 2 Sage Leaves

Preparation: Add Bombay Sapphire. Muddle sage and pineapple. Add St Germain. Shave and strain. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with black peppercorn, lemon wheel, and edible flowers.


Here is the cocktail Chilled magazine’s Max Ferro and New York MIB Finalist Luis Hernandez created:

Max's Greatest Fear cocktail

Max’s Greatest Fear

Max’s Greatest Fear

Created by Max Ferro and New York MIB Finalist Luis Hernandez

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 2 Tomato Chunks
  • 1 piece Lemongrass
  • 4 Apple Chunks
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup

Preparation: Muddle fruits and lemongrass. Add Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake and double strain. Top with fresh ice, and garnish with lemongrass and tomato.