A cocktail mixologist from Greece has seen off competitors from across the globe to be named Bartender of the Year 2009 in a ceremony at the Andaz Hotel, London.
Marco Pierre White hosted the "liquid Oscars", organised by drinks brand Diageo, in which Aristotelis Papadopoulos, from Thessaloniki, beat 18 rivals.
The contest took place in bars and restaurants across London including East Rooms, Fifty and Milk & Honey and also the Whole Foods supermarket in Kensington, where competitors selected fresh produce.
The year long competition saw national heats in 24 countries with 6,000 bartenders taking part. The finalists, from as far afield as Korea and the Cayman Islands, were judged on their cocktail selection, flair and how they matched food with drinks.
Judges included Gary Regan, a spirit and cocktail expert, Salvatore Calabrese, from Fifty in St James's and Dale DeGroff, widely regarded as the world's premier mixologist.
Papadopoulos, a barman for 25 years, said his favourite cocktail was his own signature drink called Discernment Blue. Made of Johnnie Walker Blue, Greek saffron, fresh mint leaves, lime juice and agave syrup, the cocktail costs 50 euros at his bar Banquet.
- Diageo is developing a new range of ready-to-drink cocktails in a bottle aimed at cocktail drinkers who do not have the time or inclination to buy the necessary range of spirits and ingredients.
By Janie Stamford
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