What a year we have had in the cocktail world. As always, we have seen new beverage mixes and presentations, impressing cocktail lovers and competition judges all over the world. This year we have also seen a return to stripped-back classics, with all the frills and flair removed. The trend has been to enjoy a simpler experience – drinks served in proper glasses instead of test tubes or some other unique instrument; quite a departure from last year’s quirky experiments.
So, with the focus solely on high-quality concoctions, bartenders are in the spotlight more than ever. With the end of the year fast approaching, what better time to take a look back at the stars of the cocktail industry.
Having travelled the world to chase his bartending dream, Mate Csatlos has now settled in Copenhagen, managing the Kabuku at Umami. His natural affinity for customer service and exciting creative streak have made him easily one of the best bartenders in the world.
Winner of this year’s Diageo World Class Competition, Canadian Kaitlyn Stewart is more than worthy of her title. Currently managing the Royal Dinette in Vancouver, she favours local and seasonal ingredients in her cocktail mixing and has proven natural talent in mixology.
Turning to bartending as an escape from a high-pressured job as a air-traffic controller, Suguru Makinaga soon discovered a love and flair for mixology. He has now worked at Bar Leigh Islay for over ten years, where he is given free reign to experiment as he wishes, all while listening to jazz music for inspiration.
Considered to be Scandinavia’s best bartender, Josephine Sondlo adds an element of sustainability into her cocktail-making, taking care to look after her environment while exercising her creativity behind the bar. Like so many before her, bartending was a part-time job that turned into a very successful career. She works at Penny and Bill in Sweden.
A chef who was taught to choose ingredients with care, making the switch to bartending was an easy process for Fatima Leon. Her attention to detail and presentation has paid off, enabling her to create world-class cocktails from her platform at Fifty Mils Bar at the Four Seasons in Mexico.
This British wonder has been a part of the bartending world since he was just 13, collecting glasses in his local pub for a bit of extra pocket money. He now manages bars all over the world, with his main location being his own company, No Fixed Abode.
Andrea Gualdi truly wants his customers to understand the art of mixology, and to learn the story behind each and every drink. His passion was born in London, where he first picked up his craft, although he now works at Maybe Frank in Australia.
Inspired by Tom Cruise’s role in the movie Cocktail, Chris Cardone went to bar school before landing his first bartending job at the age of 18. An expert in flair bartending, you will find Chris mixing his delicious concoctions at Sodi in New York.
These eight bartenders have had a fabulous year, and we are sure 2018 will be just as rewarding for them. If you ever happen to find yourself in one of their bars, make sure to ask for one of their cocktails – you won’t be disappointed!