Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations champion named

04 September, 2014

Greek bartender Thanasis Kouziokas is the winner of the fourth Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations cocktail competition. 

Kouziokas, of Groove Cocktail Bar in Greece triumphed against eight international competitors at Gin Mare’s villa in Ibiza, Spain yesterday.  

Kouziokas won a prize of €4,500 and will take on an ambassador role for Gin Mare at up to six events in the coming year.  

Second place was awarded to Nico Colic, of Hotel Rivington & Sons in Zurich, Switzerland, who won a prize of €2,000 while €1,000 was awarded to third-place Anna Martinez of Boca Chica, Barcelona, Spain.

The finalists produced three signature drinks: Mediterranean Gin & Tonic, a Red Snapper/ Bloody Mary and a Mare Nostrum cocktail that encapsulated the brand values of lifestyle, gastronomy and landscape.

Kouziokas told Drinks International he was surprised to win after seeing the high level and skill of the other bartenders.

Kouziokas said: “I’m so excited to have won, having worked so hard for the last 15 years.

“It was a really good competition and I tried to be calm throughout.” Kouziokas was the final contestant to compete at the cliff top villa after being reunited with his lost luggage containing his home made syrups. 

The judging panel - which comprised Jorge Balbontin, Gin Mare brand development manager; Spyros Patsialos, founder of Drinkable Videos and Hunting Spirits; Marc Alvarez, head bartended of 41 Degrees, Barcelona, and bartender Oscar Quadrarini- marked on taste, balance, aroma, elegance, ‘brand inspiration’ and on the contestants’ presentation skills.

Balbontin said: “We wanted contestants to know it is not about the brand, or how much they know about gin, it's about their vision.

“We don't want to be another competition. We want to do things in a natural, Mediterranean way.

"We judged on who understood the Med better.”

Judges said the unanimous victor impressed with his simple cocktails that were true to the “brand DNA”.

The three winners will all become ambassadors for Gin Mare, representing the brand at promotional events.

The six other finalists competing in the event were Russell Downie of Tonic in Edinburgh, UK; Filippo Sisti from Italy; Ciro Adriano de Georgio of Dvars from Amsterdam, Netherlands; Andre Filipe Do Reis from Tabilk, Lisbon, Portugal; Cordula Langer of Monkey Bar, Berlin, Germany; and Angel Ramón Tovar from Mexico.

The nine finalists were all rewarded to surprise boat trip and extended stay in the Gin Mare villa today.

In its fifth year, Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations will be open to the wider hospitality industry. 

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