The lowdown on Katy:
Katy Dimech has been shaking up a storm in the past year and a half in Bournemouth. She started bartending in Aruba on the beachfront before progressing to what she calls ‘serious bartending’ at Urban Beach. These days you’ll find her at 1812, an historical bar and restaurant serving a winning mix of classic and contemporary food and cocktails.
World Class is Katy’s first competition entry and she goes through to the finals with her rum creation, Kiss In The Clouds…
What led you to become a bartender?
When I first started bartending it was just a natural progression from working in a restaurant, but it was while working with an amazing crew at Urban Beach that really got me involved.
What’s the best thing about your job?
All the travelling and visits to distilleries, vineyards and such and now at 1812, working with such a vibrant and professional team. And of course, there’s the excitement of trying new products!
Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Tristan Stephenson is quite a genius, his methods and style have brought about a very fresh approach to bartending. Also Ian Burrell – he’s one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met, and he does a great job as the UK rum ambassador.
If you could mix a drink for anyone alive or dead who would it be and why?
I’d say Steve McQueen, it would be amazing to see the King of Cool sipping on a Julep!
What’s your favourite classic cocktail?
An Old Fashioned, because it let’s the spirit do the talking. For such a simple drink it can have a remarkable effect.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had at the bar?
Guinness with orange juice caused quite a stir, and a mojito with less ice is a frequent request.
What’s your proudest moment as a bartender?
The first time I stumped my old teacher with the ingredients I’d used in a cocktail. It was great to see the look on his face as he really enjoyed the drink and couldn’t figure out why!
Describe the inspiration for the drink/s that got you through to the finals.
My inspiration without a doubt came from the luxury of Zacapa. Not just the smooth texture and rich taste, but the whole idea behind the spirit and the way you feel when you drink it – for me Zacapa conjures up special occasions. And for my second cocktail I wanted to combine two classic world favourites: the Daiquiri and the Mojito in an original way, using different ingredients to create familiar tastes, with a new sensation.
Any funny/embarrassing anecdotes in the rounds leading up to World Class UK finals?
One of the funnier moments of the regionals happened when Simon Difford asked a fellow contestant why he was using sugar cubes rather than syrup. The contestant gave a considerate, detailed answer, to which Difford replied: ‘well, I always use syrup.’
Have you picked up any good tips from the competition?
Smiling never hurts anyone, and sometimes the most ridiculous ideas turn into the most successful ones.
What does winning your regional heat of World Class mean to you?
It shows me that hard work pays off, and very generously too!
What would winning the finals World Class UK mean to you?
It would be quite an adventure, and one I’d be very blessed to be on.
Who would you thank in your World Class acceptance speech?
I would thank Jon Lister, for being a wonderfully engaging and pushy teacher, and my boyfriend for making me aware of the annoyance of flairing, and therefore encouraging my mixology instead.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be and why?
I’d be a Hurricane, because I leave destruction behind me wherever I go!
The cocktail that got her through:
Kiss in the clouds
I was inspired by the sweet honey and vanilla notes from the Zacapa. The purpose is to bring out the luxury behind the spirit.
15ml Krupnik spiced honey liqueur
2 spoons vanilla sugar syrup
1 whole egg white
10ml Almond (orgeat) syrup
Shake first three ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled martini glass. Shake final ingredients without ice and layer on top of cocktail. Garnish with a brandy basket filled with marzipan, caramel and candyfloss.