The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 66 of 128

COMPETITION "Most Inspired Bartender" THE U.S. BARTENDER'S GUILD AND BOMBAY SAPPHIRE CHOOSE A NATIONAL WINNER by E. C. Gladstone photos by Danielle "Deed" DeBruno I f one contest could be taken as a bellwether for the state of mix- ology in North America, it would likely be Bombay Sapphire's "Most Inspired Bartender." Sanctioned by the United States Bartender Guild and co-sponsored by GQ magazine, the Las Vegas finals, held September 11–12, brought together, for the fifth consecutive year, a total of forty-six bartenders, whittled down from over 3,000 contestants in local events across the U.S. and Canada. Over two nights, the intense competition narrowed the pack down to a semifinal ten and then three final winners, as a rapt audience of fellow professionals, friends and family hung on every swizzle and sip. "The bar and kitchen are so close together now," host/judge Tyler Florence told THE TASTING PANEL. "For me, a bartender is just as inspi- rational as a pastry chef or chef de cuisine." Here, Tyler is pictured with winner Bryan Dayton and Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. 66 / the tasting panel / december 201 1

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