London isn’t exactly short of world-class bartenders. But who’s the best?

Setting out to answer that very question, award-winning gin distillers, No.3 Gin, invited expert bartenders up and down the country to compete in the Unlock Taste Cocktail Tournament for the right to be crowned the best of the best.

I’d be lying if I said I was familiar with the event. But after discovering that the final include bartenders from some of the best bars such as the Artesian from the Langham Hotel, it was pretty obvious that this was a pretty big deal.

After qualifying rounds and regional finals, 60 hopefuls were whittled down to just 6 who headed to renowned wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd in fancy Piccadilly to compete in a series of challenges that would put their knowledge, flair and creativity to the test in front of a panel of some big-name industry judges.

Among the challenges, the finalists were tasked with re-creating, re-imagining and re-inventing two of the most iconic gin cocktails – the Martini and the Gin & Tonic – using No.3 Gin. Each challenger was fully miked up and recreated their cocktails while explaining the inspiration behind their creative concoctions to those present.

To my eyes, every bartender were as brilliant as each other so I was glad I wasn’t the one responsible picking out the winner from this incredible bunch of bartenders. But a decision was made and Will Campbell-Rowntree of Artesian became the winner of the third Unlock Taste Cocktail Tournament after impressing the judges with his twist on the G&T ‘Layer’s Mill’ and Martini ‘King’s Arrival’.

Your winner: Will with Layer’s Mill and King’s Arrival

Will impressed us with his technique, knowledge, professionalism, personable delivery and tasty drinks, and so it gives me great pleasure to see him crowned this year’s winner.”

Richard Gillam, No.3 Gin UK Brand Ambassador,

Massive congrats to Will. He’ll be jetting off to Hong Kong for well-deserved five-day experience with dosh to spend and lead a much sought-after guest shift at one of the world’s top 50 bars.

As an event, it was a reminder of how lucky we are to have some the world’s best mixologists serving the most innovative cocktails in such a diverse bar scene. Fair to say, I think we can count ourselves lucky to have them.

22 May 2019

Written by Kritt Normsaskul

Hi, I am Kritt, reluctant adult, professional day dreamer and adventurer extraordinaire. I love getting lost in my surroundings with my camera, a good cocktail and romantic walks to the fridge. Welcome to my blog on all things, London! (well, other things too but mostly London).

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