GSN Alert: Beefeater 24 final won by the UK’s Nathan O’Neil

imagesThe UK’s Nathan O’Neil won Beefeater 24’s Global Bartender Competition 2012 last night (November 28), prevailing from a field of 14 finalists.

O’Neill – who started his job at Milk & Honey in London today, but formerly worked at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast – performed best over the multi-phase competition, impressing judges with his cocktail Mr Burrough’s Reviver.

The final, held at Shoreditch Studios in London – the gin brand’s hometown – followed national heats held across the world.

Awards were also given for Cocktail Presentation and Preparation, won by Italian Alexander Frezza of Bar in Movimento, while Food Pairing was won by Greek Panagiotis Kanavetas of Faltso Bar.

German Katrin Reitz, of La Dee da Bar won the Public Vote round, impressing the throng of industry journalists and experts amassed for the event’s ‘open-bar’ finale with her cocktail The Watchman’s Wife.

Contestants hailed from Austria, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, the Nordics, Portugal, Serbia and the UK.

O’Neil’s Mr Burrough’s Reviver – a reference to James Burrough, the brand’s founder – was made with 40ml Beefeater 24, 2 dashes of Lapsong infused Absinthe, 5ml of almond syrup, 5ml of green tea syrup (mix of Japanese sencha and Chinese green tea), 10ml of Aquavit and 20ml of lemon juice.

O’Neil, who won a trip to Japan – home to Beefeater 24’s botanical Sencha tea – said the competition was the best he had competed in, and particularly enjoyed the ‘open-bar’ round. “You start to feel in your natural environment,” he said.

Of the trip to Japan, O’Neil said: “I want to learn from Japanese service industry – the different cultures and how they compare.”

GSN Review: Beefeater 24

Weekend Update: I am so very happy to finally acquire Beefeater 24!  I’ve been looking for a bottle since it was released this past Spring.  My good friend Samantha Harrigan procured a bottle for me and I owe her a debt of gratitude.This is a beautiful gin in every sense of the word.  From the retro look and heft of the bottle to the refreshing nose to the crisp bite of the flavor profile, I am highly impressed.  Normally, Beefeater is not one of my “go to” gins, but certainly is high on my scale of affordable quality.  This new style of London made gin is closer to what I generally am drawn to; fresh botanicals and more citrus notes than juniper, although that is certainly present here.  If I were looking for a similar gin, I would suggest something along the lines of Tanqueray 10.  Which is slightly ironic since both gins reference the exact number of ingredients infused into the base.

The opening aroma has notes of bright citrus, juniper, lime and is much less medicinal than regular Beefeater.  The gin is startlingly crystal clear in a gorgeous bottle which is based on the design of a 19th century flask.  This looks impressive on your shelf!

The flavor profile immediately brings to mind sweet candy, orange citrus and an unusual dryness.  This is undoubtedly due to the infusion of tea which creates a tannic quality.

I can see this gin used in a classic martini to great benefit.  As a mixer it will be unrivaled.  I cannot recommend this gin highly enough.

Good Spirits Rating: **** Top Shelf