Held at La Masion Noilly Prat in the fishing village of Marseillan in the South of France, the contest saw six London-based bartenders compete and was the first of three similar competitions to take place involving international bartenders.
From the three competitions (UK, French and Nordics/German) Noilly Prat will choose an overall winner to fly to New York and visit the Knickerbocker Hotel, home to one of the first Dry Martini recipes, visit the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and tour the city’s bars.
Lawson’s winning cocktail, Made in France, comprised a ratio of 60-to-40 Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth-to-Bombay Sapphire gin and included a white truffle-infused honey.
The UK final was competed by Aly Martin from Peg and Patriot, Simone Rossi from Quo Vadis, Mike Foster from 69 Colebrooke Row, Lorenzo Antinori from The Beaufort Bar at the Savoy and Joe Farr from Trailer Happiness.
Bartenders were required to create at a twist on a classic Dry Martini using no more than four ingredients.
Judges – Sandrae Lawrence of the Cocktail Lovers, Sasha Filimonov of Square Meal’s Best Bars, Felicity Murray of the Drinks Report and Hamish Smith of Drinks International/World’s 50 Best Bars – marked on name, presentation, taste and balance and the extent to which Noilly Prat was highlighted in the drink.
The feeling among judges was that the cocktails brought together innovation and classicism. Lawson’s Martini impressed judges as it balanced honey and white truffle – not often partnered – perfectly with the dry, oxidised taste of Noilly Prat vermouth.
Lawson, who has been in the UK for four years and worked at Mash as bartender for three months, said: “I love Martinis as they are very delicate drinks in the way they are made and served. The idea of my drink was to match noble ingredients – the dry white wine of Noilly Pratt with the white truffle, which is dry and earthy.
“It’s a really easy drink to be recreated. I hope I am chosen to win the overall competition and fly to New York as it’s always been a dream.”