The Luminary mixologist will head to Las Vegas on September 8 to vie for the national crown in a competition sponsored by Bombay Sapphire.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Ian Cox of The Luminary has been named the Atlanta finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s search for the “most imaginative bartender” for his recipe “La Dame du Loc.”
“It’s the second biggest bartending competition of the year,” says Cox with a big smile. (He says that Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition is generally considered No. 1.)
The first thrill of the competition is to be invited to compete, since “Every year thousands of bartenders submit recipes in an attempt to compete,” says Cox.
The competition itself includes a series of challenging timed sessions and blind tastings. Cox faced off against nine of Atlanta’s most promising mixology talents during the Atlanta competition.
“The only rules are to use Bombay Sapphire and to be creative,” he says. “Anybody can make a gin sour, so I wanted to represent the flavors of Bombay Sapphire in a savory cocktail—everything in the drink highlights ingredients of Bombay Sapphire.”
He felt savory was a creative approach and would also represent him: “I’m a big, hairy Scotch Irish guy who works at a French restaurant,” he says. “So I used savory ingredients like angelica root which is from Saxony, coriander and vanilla in my orgeat.”
Judges weighed each entry’s appearance, aroma, imagination and taste. The panel of judges included Nick Kosevich, Bombay Sapphire Ambassador; Scott Mayer, Bacardi Portfolio Manager; Greg Best, Founder of Holeman and Finch; Michael Searles, USBG Atlanta Chapter President; and Tokiwa Sears, Beverage Director Southern Art and Bourbon Bar. Competitors lose points for any spills, touching the garnish or glass rim with bare hands, failing to show the bottle label and other fine points of bartending.
In the final analysis, Cox’s “La Dame du Loc” was crowned the most creative cocktail.
“My friends had said that with this recipe I’d either hit it out of the park or go down in flames,” he laughed. Out of the park it is: The well-balanced cocktail is savory yet sweet, creamy yet light, unique yet approachable. Cox says that he plans to add it to his bar menu.
Having seized the regional title, Cox will head to Las Vegas on September 8, 2014, to vie for the national title, competing against 39 top mixologists from across the U.S. The winner of that competition wins the title of “Nation’s Most Imaginative Bartender,” plus a cover feature of GQ magazine’s “Men of the Year” December 2014 issue. If he takes the title in Las Vegas, Cox will then secure himself a coveted spot as the U.S. representative in the 2015 Global Finals.
The Winning Recipe…
1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire
.5 oz Drambuie
.25 oz Martini and Rossi bianco
.5 oz Angelica root orgeat
La Muse Verte Pastis rinse
Orange twist garnish
Stir liquid with ice using a bar spoon or small aerator. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass that’s been rinsed beforehand with La Muse Verte Pastis (alternately; spray a mist of La Muse Verte Pastis across the glass after straining the other ingredients into it). Garnish with an orange twist.
Now in its eighth year, the USBG Most Imaginative Bartender search has become an industry tradition.
The United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), the leading organization of beverage service professionals, hosted the regional finals of the “Most Imaginative Bartender” competition, sponsored by Bombay Sapphire gin.
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