Belfast bartender named Beefeater 24 champion

4th December, 2012 by Becky Paskin

Nathan O’Neill of The Merchant Hotel in Belfast has been named the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender of the Year following a grand final held in London last week.

Nathan O'Neill Beefeater 24 bartending championship

Nathan O’Neill (left) collects his award from Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne

The competition, which was first launched last year, saw 14 bartenders from around the world fly into London to demonstrate their all-round bartending abilities.

The final saw all 14 bartenders participate in a number of challenges designed to test a variety of skills. They included a cocktail photoshoot to test their drink styling; an interview with a cocktail blogger to test their charisma and drinks knowledge; and a food-pairing task to test their resourcefulness and understanding of flavour.

Ultimately a panel of judges, headed by Beefeater gin master distiller Desmond Payne, deemed O’Neill to be the winner.

O’Neill receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan with Beefeater international brand ambassador Sebastian Hamilton Mudge, where he will experience the local Japanese tea and bartending culture that inspired Beefeater 24. His name will also be added to the Beefeater 24 Hall of Fame plaque at the London distillery.

“The competition has provided a thrilling example of the creativity and skill of the bartending community around the world,” said Payne. “I have been delighted by the passion of the competitors and the way in which they have combined an in-depth knowledge of cocktails with innovative new techniques. This year’s competition has highlighted how far cocktail making has evolved to create truly remarkable drinking experiences.”

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