Let’s strip away all of the cool stuff like the fancy dinners, tasty cocktails and the undeniable pleasure that comes from luxuriating in five-star hotels for a moment and cut to the chase: this is a competition where imagination is key.

Sure, this week is also about treating the 14 global finalists to an unforgettable UK experience but the underlying factor is finding someone who captures the spirit of this unique vapour-infused gin in an innovative cocktail.

That doesn’t mean the 12 guys and two girls who have made it through to this stage have to go totally bonkers with their drinks, it does however suggest they should at least be creative in their thinking.

To help get the cogs whirring, the first part of today was given over to three very different but equally inspiring talks. The first came  from Camper English on the importance of self-PR and tapping into social media, another from Chris Moore at the Beaufort Bar about the incredible history and importance of The Savoy, his place of work, and lastly, Charlie Harry Francis from Lick Me I’m Delicious spoke about tapping into the child that still lives within all of us. “Try questioning everything like children again”, he advised. “Instead of thinking outside the box, think curious – curiosity unlocks creativity”, and you’ve got to admit, he does have a point.

These were wise words before the bartenders were sent out with £100 each to source glassware, ingredients and/or props for their drinks. When we were all back at the ranch, aka the splendid soaring specimen that is the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, where we were  fortified with refreshing gin and tonics and delicious strawberry and lemon thyme libations in the Royal Suite. Then it was all-aboard the special Bombay Sapphire Routemaster buses for cocktails and dinner at The Savoy, followed by drinks at Artesian, The Connaught Bar and the London Edition – a taste of London at its very best.

Image above: the Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassadors

What we learned today

Frank Wells was the first Head Bartender at The Savoy, with a payment stub with his name and job title found in records dating back to 1893 – who knew?

Quote of the day

“Hear all without listening, see all without looking, be attentive without being servile, anticipate without being presumptuous.” – César Ritz on the art of hospitality.

Bartender of the day

Rémy Savage, Paris – we’re loving his passion, style and dedication to sharing the cocktail love. If you’re Paris bound check out Little Red Door where he works – innovative whilst being inclusive and experimental whilst still being fun, it’s definitely worth having on your radar.

Tomorrow: The semi-final.

Check in at The Cocktail Lovers each day for news and follow all the

action @bombaysapphire #mostimaginativebartender

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