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.”