What do Steve Jobs, Ada Coleman, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, René Magritte, Coco Chanel, Jiro Shirasu, Frank Lloyd Wright, Maria Goncalves, Ben Simpson and Guillermo Gonzalez Camerena have in common? Don’t worry, this isn’t a test and we admit we hadn’t heard of all of them either until recently. What unites the names on the list is they are all people who have challenged convention. Moreover, it’s their unique way of looking at things that has inspired bartenders from around the world to come up with a range of new cocktails with which to honour them. It’s all part of G’Vine Perspectives and it’s the reason we find ourselves in France with the bartenders in question, along with a host of drinks luminaries.
The G’Vine Perspectives Challenge started back in March (find out more here). Given the unconventional nature of G’Vine gin itself, made from grape not from grain, and produced in Cognac, a region traditionally associated with an altogether different spirit, it’s not surprising that it set bartenders a different kind of challenge. They were asked to choose someone they admired for their unconventional approach to life. Actor, artist, photographer, scientist, designer, or perhaps a distiller or fellow bartender. They then had to create an original G’Vine serve inspired by them.
Entries flooded in from around the world and were eventually whittled down to just 11 names (10 would be so conventional). These 11 international bartenders are the ones who yesterday gathered in Bordeaux for the start of a unique week. Unusually they’re not in France for a global final of any kind. No, they’re all winners and the aim of their time here is to inspire them. Hosting them are cocktail luminaries gaz regan, Alex Kratena, Philip Duff and Andy Gemmel, along with G’Vine founder and Master Distiller Jéan-Sébastien Robicquet and G’Vine Head of Advocacy Jamie Walker. We think the bartenders are in for one hell of a week. And we’ll be keeping up with them over the next few days to share the highlights.
The lucky bartenders are Emma Andrew, Heads & Tales, UK; Ferñao Goncalves, Casa de Pasto, Portugal; Florian Drucks-Jacobsen, Liquid Bar, Germany; Jesús De Los Mozos, 1862 Dry Bar, Spain: Martin Gouguet, Hotel Christopher, France; Mirsini Spaneli, Boogie Bar, Greece; Nathan O’Neil, Dandelyan, UK; Osvaldo Vazquez, Thompson The Cape, Mexico; Sean Frederick, Townsman, USA; Soran Nomura, Fuglen, Japan and Tom Egerton, Eau De Vie, Australia.
As for that list of inspirational names, we’ll be talking to the bartenders during the next few days to find out more about the people they chose to honour as unconventional thinkers and the cocktails they were inspired to create.
Given that our bartenders had only just flown in from all over the world the first day was deliberately relaxed. During the day a stroll through the historic city of Bordeaux. The evening started at the funky L’Alchimist bar in the heart of town with a cocktail or two (we loved the Aviation by the way) then on to dinner at the uber smart Dubern.
So, the bartenders have got to know each other, and they’ve got to know their hosts. Tomorrow? They get to know Maison Vellevert and one or two other things…
What is an unconventional thinker?
“Someone who starts with utter fearlessness of breaking the rules, who sees what everybody can see but actually does what nobody else does and someone who follows through on their dream.”
Philip Duff, spirits educator, bar consultant and Director of Education for Tales of the Cocktail
With the winners
Sean Frederick, Townsman, USA
“My cocktail, Green Girder (G’Vine Floraison, fresh celery juice, lime juice, simple syrup, mezcal, Combier Kümmel and Bittermens Orchard St.Celery Shrub) is for Frank Lloyd Wright. He was an Amercian architect who cleverly combined nature with his designs. I wanted to do the same with my drink bringing together the natural green of the celery in various forms with the other ingredients.”
Osvaldo Vazquez, Thompson The Cape, Mexico;
“Guillermo Gonzalez Camerenais is credited with the invention of colour television but few people, even in his native Mexico, know his name. My drink, 1940 (G’Vine Floraison, Luxardo Maraschino, lime juice, palo de sangre root, cardamon perfume and Ruda barrel aged bitters) actually changes colour as the ice melts and reacts with the combined ingredients.”
Tomorrow: On to Cognac