During the first weekend of March, 35 bartenders from ten countries competed against each other in Stockholm to win the prestigious Absolut Invite competition and become the “best bartender in northern Europe” – and thanks to Pernod Ricard I was able to attend.
The first day, the competitors were divided into seven groups, treated with a seminar by renowned cocktail expert Nick Strangeway and most importantly, they made their two signature cocktails (inspired by music styles of choice) and presented them to the jury – Sasha Petraske (Milk & Honey etc.), Mathin Lundgren (last year’s winner, 1900/Kåken), Ronny Emborg (AOC, Copenhagen) and Rebecca Almqvist (Absolut UK brand ambassador). I managed to try a large number of the cocktails, and was pleasantly surprised by the high standards – even though some were on the sweet side and/or with crazy, over the top garnish.
|Cocktail photo session|
The second day started with a breakfast seminar by Sasha Petraske, in which he among other things disapproved of cocktail bartenders drinking beer and shots in their free time, and encouraged drinking on the job – moderately, of course. After the seminar, the seven groups were given instructions on how to get to the five challenges at selected bars around the city, including collective and individual sensory, collective and individual knowledge and a collective creative exercise. I tried the individual knowledge challenge myself, and scored 7 out of 15, so my guess is that the groups performed better.
|Collective sensory challenge @ Little Quarter|
When all challenges were completed, the time had come to announce the winner of Absolut Invite 2012, and top performer during the weekend was Magnus Pettersson from Reisen Bar in Stockholm – big congratulations! In second place came Humberto Saraiva Marques (Copenhagen) and in third place Andreas Bergman (Sjögräs).
|Magnus Pettersson, photo © William Leach|
As a bonus, here are both of Magnus’ signature drinks – enjoy!
Liquid Quartet (jazz)
40 ml Absolut
20 ml Lillet Blanc
1 barspoon vanilla syrup
1 barspoon Amaro Montenegro
Orange and lemon zest
Absolut Recut (hip hop)
60 ml Absolut Elyx
20 ml lemon juice
20 ml orange juice
30ml home made orange cordial
3 dashes orange flower water
Top up with soda water (30 ml)