While traditionally, drinks have rested in the background with all the big energy focused around what’s on your plate, we’ve seen an emergence of a vibrant cocktail culture committed to creating great experiences. It’s time to let the folks behind the bar build these sensory experiences for you - which is why bartending, a craft and an art to host someone in a small space and tap into their mood and fix what’s in their glass – the liquids, the garnish, the measures – is also seeing a new age reinvention of its role.
Bartending is a skill that requires a lot of practice and dedication, and it was fitting that a competition searching for the Master Bartender was held here for the first time. All thanks to Giffard, specialist of liqueurs and syrups since 1885, that brought an awesome opportunity for professional bartenders to get creative and show off their cocktail creation skills! How well you host someone, how you think outside the box, create modern classics, and eventually balance skill and flavor to create something never tasted before using Giffard. These were also some of the key lookout points at the recently-held first edition of the GIFFARD-THE ARTIST: The Master Bartender.
The event took place on 2nd March 2023 at Bitters & Co., a cocktail bar based in Lazimpat, Kathmandu where 10 contestants were selected from more than 36 applicants who created original cocktails and posted the drink online along with their name, recipe and inspiration behind it. The names included Sushant Sharma, Dorje Sherpa, Sagar Singh Bista, Amrit Pandey, Manjeet Dangol, Rajani Pradhananga, Avishek KC, Rai Badshah Kirant, Suwarna Yonjan and Saurav Karki. These bartenders who have shaken, stirred and poured their way to the top 10 were judged by a panel that included TJ Antony- Giffard Brand Developer & Beverage Innovator Manager in Asia, Arthur Piffoux- Giffard Brand Ambassador & Asia Pacific Sales Manager, Cabinet Shrestha- Director of Agni Group & Hotelier and Gaurav Agarwal- Director of MS Group & Hotelier.
Winner Sagar Singh Bista won the judges’ hearts with his drink Welcome to the Jungle and his creativity, skill and style that set him apart. Sagar is an experienced bartender with a deep-rooted interest in mixology and an unwavering passion for creating new and exciting cocktails. With two years of experience in the field, he has a curiosity for understanding the diverse taste palates of his customers. His motivation comes from the creative journey of blending different liquors and tastes, which keeps him continuously engaged and excited.
The first runner up of the event brought his A-game to the competition and left a lasting impression on the judges and audience. With his unique drink THE OLD FRIEND and an energetic presentation, Rai Badshah Kirant grabbed everyone’s attention in the room. An accomplished flair instructor from the Illusion Bartender Academy with five years of experience in the field, he has polished his skills to perfection. His dedication and hard work paid off when he became the Runner Up of 2020 Illusion Flair Forever Championship.
The second runner up of the show Sushant Sharma poured his heart into the cocktail he made, R?ga Pushpah. A dynamic bartender with two and half years of experience is constantly pushing the boundaries of mixology with his creativity and willingness to experiment. He started out with a simple passion for crafting unique and delicious drinks and has since turned it into a thriving career.
This was a big event and has definitely opened doors for bartenders and similar shows in the future. Ashish Pradhan, Managing Director at Evo Beverages and a very active member of the show is all set to bring the second edition in a much bigger and better format very soon.
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