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The week in pictures

Italian apéritif brand Fernet-Branca was in San Francisco this week for the latest instalment in its Branca Games bartender competition.

Taking place at The Midway in San Francisco, the contest saw 12 teams of bartenders and bar backs face challenges including a bottle relay, beer restocking race, spillage clean up challenge and a keg changing relay.

The national winners of this year’s contest were Doug Brickel and Warren Corazzini from New York, while Nick Anderson and Andrew Ehrenberg were named Bay area champions.

Interstellar actor Matthew McConaughey, Wild Turkey master distiller Eddie Russell and a group of volunteers from the Wild Turkey community teamed up with disaster relief organisation Operation BBQ Relief to cook and deliver meals to first responders in Los Angeles this week.

With wildfires raging across California, McConaughey and the team visited more than 20 fire houses to drop off 800 barbecue turkey dinners for firefighters and also brought 800 additional meals to a local homeless shelter.

McConaughey also listened to stories from the men and women working at each fire house, and thanked them for their dedication and hard work.

To celebrate Old Fashioned Week (1-10 November), American whiskey brand Woodford Reserve partnered with 285 bars across the UK to celebrate the classic cocktail.

Bars in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol and Cardiff showcased their own twist on the classic serve, with London’s Swift serving the Timber, which is inspired by Woodford Reserve’s “sweet aromatic flavour”.

Elsewhere in the capital, Murder Inc served the “grain influenced” Oryzae Does It Mate!, Three Sheets offered its “nutty alternative” Whiskey + Milk, and Islington Irish bar Homeboy served up its “fruity” Orchard Old Fashioned.

It was a busy week for the world’s best bartenders, with a number of high profile cocktail competitions taking place.

First up, Selia Bugallo (pictured right) of Kwãnt, London, was crowned the Best Italicus Bar Artist of the Year with her aperitivo-style The Three of Us cocktail at the contest’s final in Barcelona.

For the final, 12 bartenders descended on Barcelona’s Paradiso, with Bugallo walking away with the top prize for her cocktail, which combined Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, coffee-infused sake, oloroso wine, and rosemary and grapefruit tonic.

Ellie Raeside, of Tonic in Edinburgh, was crowned the 2019 winner of Jägermeister’s Meister Hunter competition this week.

The contest’s five finalists competed in two days of challenges in London, where they battled for a £3,000 (US$3,840) prize fund and a spot on Jägermeister’s exclusive Hubertus Circle.

Raeside impressed the judges with her creations, including the Dr Meister, which was made with Jägermeister Manifest, Cinzano Rosso Vermouth and cherry shrub. Second place was awarded to The Cocktail Trading Co’s Andy Mil, while third place was awarded to Benji Davies of Little Mercies.

The UK final of the Amaro Montenegro Vero Bartender competition also took place this week, and Cristiana Pirinu of London’s Donovan bar at Brown’s Hotel was crowned the winner.

More than 130 UK bartenders entered the competition, and Pirinu wowed the judges with her Seven Notes cocktail to take away the top prize. Her winning drink was made with Amaro Montenegro, blackcurrant and hibiscus tea, manzanillo Sherry and homemade cherry ratafia.

Pirinu will now represent the UK in the contest’s global final in Milan next month.

This week, The Spirits Business headed to London’s Andaz Hotel for the latest instalment in The Global Spirits Masters competition: The Design and Packaging Masters.

The competition saw a panel of judges reward eye-­catching aesthetics, quality materials, creativity, strong branding and functionality with Silver, Gold and Master medals awarded to the top designs. 
The competition was sponsored by premium cork closures maker Amorim Top Series, which specialises in the design, engineering and production of exclusive capsulated cork closures.

SB headed to St James Bar at London hotel Sofitel St James to sample the bar’s Passport menu this week, which features drinks inspired by flavours and cultures from around the world.

Launched on 1 November, the bar’s latest menu is designed to look like a passport, with each cocktail displayed with a stamp from the country it was inspired by.

Cocktails on the menu were influenced by countries including Japan, Iceland, Greece and the US. Drinks include the La Bandera, inspired by Mexico and made with Calle 23 Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, avocado liqueur and ginger beer reduction.

On Monday, London bar Mr Fogg’s Residence hosted the latest event in its Explorer Series, welcoming Mount Everest climbing guide Kenton Cool for an evening of anecdotes and stories from his 14 expeditions to the top of the world’s highest mountain.

Cool, who first climbed Everest in 2004, shared stories from the mountain and showed the assembled guests some of his favourite images from the Khumbu Glacier, the Hillary Step and the mountain’s summit at 8,848m.

Mr Fogg’s regularly hosts talks and discussions from adventurers in different disciplines and will be announcing its next season of speakers in the coming months.

Rooftop bar Madison in London opened the doors to its winter-themed terrace this week.

The London rooftop venue, which overlooks St Paul’s Cathedral, launched its Enchanted Woods Terrace, filled with woodland foliage, fairy lights, illuminated trees and personal lodges.

Visitors to the terrace can enjoy a festive menu of hot and chilled cocktails.

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