The co-founder of Bottlefork and The Duck Inn bars in Chicago created The Hackney Handshake – an “ode to the hipsters of Hackney” as it is “a drink that you've just found out about, but they've been enjoying since long before it was cool”.
Competing in his first international tournament and visiting Europe for the first time, Phillips said his drink - gin, Manzanilla sherry, lemon juice, tea syrup and egg white soda, garnished with juniper dusted popcorn – drew on past recipes and new experiences.
Phillips told DI: “My drink was a riff on a fizz. I was looking for the tertiary flavours in the gin that I could build on so decided to try a syrup I had made before. Then I realised this was the best damn gin fizz I have ever had.”
Phillips was named champion after a three-day event that saw cocktail presentations, food matching and culminated in bartenders presenting their drinks to a throng of industry professionals, who later voted for their favourite cocktail.
Judge Ryan Chetiyawardana was impressed with Phillips’ “great drinks”, “consistency” over the rounds and his delivery of the cocktail's story. He added: “It’s very easy to put together a perfect drink in isolation but this competition puts bartenders on the spot which is what bartending is about. To win this competition you have to be a true bartender.”
Roberto Rossi of Italy excelled in the earlier rounds of food and cocktail matching and cocktail presentations, while Truls Thomsen from Norway was also noted for his creation.
As the champion, Phiilips has won two expenses-paid trips to as-yet unnamed destinations, where he will take part in ambassadorial work for Beefeater.