The French liqueur brand and Belvédère’s vodka Sobieski took centre stage at the event in Bordeaux as bartenders – all national winners - competed in a cocktail competition over a two-day period.
After three rounds of competition Amit Gilad of Tel Aviv bar Otto 76, Israel, won through, taking the crown of IBS champion and a prize of €3,000.
He said: “It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be here. I am going to make sure that every penny [of the prize] is spent on enjoying myself.”
With professional seminars in liqueurs, cocktail garnishing, and molecular mixology all scheduled over the three days, and a prize pool of €6,000, organisers estimated that the event cost €100,000 and was “the second biggest cocktail competition in France”.
A two-pronged judging panel were charged with finding the bartender that exhibited the most “energy, knowledge and experience”, marking on technical proficiency, and the appearance, aroma and taste of the cocktails.
Round one saw bartenders each deliver a cocktail using ingredients of their choice, within a time limit of six minutes.
The twenty highest-scoring competitors were then recalled for the semi-final, where the blind-tasting panel – that included Drinks International’s Hamish Smith - were given a second opportunity to test the bartenders’ signature cocktail and to whittle the field to eight.
Supplied with the gamut of Belvedere Group spirits, a selection of fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, syrups, bitters, juices and jams, final round competitors were tasked with creating a new cocktail that contained one Marie Brizard liqueur, within ten minutes.
Brand ambassador for Marie Brizard, Nicolas Destors described the overall standard of the competition as “very high”, and that many of the bartenders’ cocktail recipes would be listed on the website and used in future exhibitions and promotions.