A former Australian bartender of the year, Williams impressed judges with his Werewolves of London cocktail at the competition’s grand final, which took place at the UK capital’s 9 Grosvenor Place.
The grand final was split into stages; the first saw bartenders present their signature Beefeater cocktails and then in a second round creativity was tested with a food pairing task.
The eight best bartenders emerged for the final round to make their cocktails for an audience of drinks industry figures assembled for the competition. Guests voted for their favourite cocktail and scores were collected then counted towards the judges’ final decision.
William’s winning drink was a blend of Beefeater 24 gin, orange and peach liquor, lemon juice and frankincense bitters, finished off with a green tea mist.
This year’s judging panel comprised PDT’s Jim Meehan, drinks expert Tony Conigliaro; Drinks International’s World’s 50 Best Bars editor, Lucy Britner; food writer Chris Hirst; head chef of London restaurant The Rib Room, Ian Rudge; and Beefeater master distiller, Desmond Payne.
Williams won an all-expenses trip to one of Beefeater’s key global markets, to experience the local bartending culture.
Williams said: “I’ve had a great time taking part in the competition - there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst all the competitors and the diversity of the various rounds was fantastic, allowing us to really show off our creativity and the different skills that bartenders need to have to be at the top of the game.”
“Gin is definitely on the rise in Australia, so I’m looking forward to flying the flag for gin even more when I get home.”
The grand final of the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition was the culmination of national qualifying heats and finals around the world and took place at the end of a three-day trip to London in which finalists were introduced to the London cocktail scene, enjoying the city’s most celebrated bars, touring the Beefeater Distillery and visiting Tea Smith, a destination for tea aficionados.
The contestants were as follows:
1. Australia – Jason Williams, The Rook, Sydney
2. Austria – Florian Wisata, Hemingway Bar, Ried im Innkreis
3. Belgium – Barbara Simmi, Amigo Rocco Forte, Brussells
4. Canada – Robin Kaufman, Instructor at Toronto Institute of Bartending
5. Colombia – Joshua Gurrero Hoyos, Restaurante NoNo
6. Czech Republic – Miloš Danihelka, Anonymous Bar, Prague
7. Denmark – Hardeep Rehal, 1105
8. Estonia – Gerda Viks, Volga 7, Tartu
9. Finland – Jani-Pekka Hiltunen, Boulevard Social
10. France – Mido Ahmed Yahi, Le Café Moderne
11. Germany – Frederick Knüll, Spirits
12. Greece – Konstantinos Kapniaris, Habar; Rumors
13. Hong Kong – Hiu Kwan Cherry Lam, Quinary, Hong Kong
14. Ireland – Darren Geraghty, Indie Dhaba
15. Italy – Idris Conti, Luca e Andrea Café-Bar, Milan
16. Japan – Shoki Sato, Bar Beso
17. South Korea – Suk Ho SON, Coffee Bark Hannam
18. Norway – Truls Thomsen, Newsman
19. Poland – Jakub Kozlowski, Colombia
20. Portugal – Miguel Belo
21. Serbia – Marko Skerovic, Teressa Lounge and Bartenders710, Serbia
22. Slovakia – Marcoš Dzurus,Cuba Libre
23. Sweden – Andrea Patelli, Little Quarter
24. Switzerland – Nicholas Berger, Chat Noir Club, Geneva
25. UK – Scott Mitchell, Bon Vivant, Edinburgh
26. USA – Ian Cox, Wrecking Bar, Atlanta