What makes a bartender more creative and imaginative than the next? Last night’s final of the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender suggested it’s a great story, a lot of skill and a little humour.
Sigrid Ehm, of The Hammond Bar in Vienna, won the competition last night with her cocktail, El Diamante. It was made with Bombay Sapphire gin, homemade salt and earth syrup, and lemon and cherry infused Noilly Prat.
After an impromptu little rendition of God Save the Queen, Ehm presented her drink by telling the story of her journey with Bombay Sapphire this week, as the eight finalists travelled to visit botanical fields in Spain, the distillery at Laverstoke Mill and London, to find hands-on inspiration. She displayed several boxes containing lemon peels and almonds from Bombay Sapphire’s botanical fields in Murcia, as well as paper and earth.
When asked what she thought made her drink the winning one, Ehm told Imbibe: ‘I think it’s the journey. This week we had to prepare three drinks. The first and the second ones weren’t judged [finalists had to create a G&T twist and a Martini for two challenges that did not count towards the final]but my cocktails have a journey. It was a journey of the presentation and a journey of the taste. And then it’s connecting all together and it’s Bombay Sapphire gin.’
She explained that the earth aims to represent the sapphire that is characteristic of the gin – which was the reason for the name of her cocktail, too, and a good excuse to finish her presentation on a line from Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.
Judges Peter Dorelli, Julie Reiner, WMIB14 winner Rémy Savage and Bombay Sapphire master distiller Nik Fordham picked her drink over those of the other two finalists, Dan Berger from Heddon Street Kitchen, the UK winner, and Ran Duan, representing the USA.
Sigrid Ehm becomes the first woman to win the competition in its four years of existence. She wins, among other things, the chance to create her own gin under the guidance of Fordham.