Yes, we know, there are plenty of cool cocktail competitions around and yes, we know, they all have their distinct qualities but there’s something about the Chivas Masters that’s had us hooked from the start.
Why? Let’s break it down… To begin with, there’s the premise of it. What’s not to like about a comp that celebrates chivalry and generosity? We’re also down with the way the Chivas Masters has nurtured talent and built relationships – we’ve seen how tight circles have been formed and remain tightly knit over the over the years. Plus, never mind the ‘masters’ tag, this is very much an inclusive affair. The ‘brotherhood’ moniker that’s often bandied about applies to all genders – it’s about inclusiveness, more specifically, it’s about community, something the Chivas Masters Global Competition is zoning in on even more in the 2018 Global Finals running from 24th to 29th June.
Working as a team, 2017 Chivas Masters winner Atsushi Suzuki in action in Tokyo
It makes sense, particularly in its fifth year that the Chivas Masters Global Cocktail Competition should return to its roots. After two years in New York (2014 and 2015), one in Shanghai (2016) and another in Tokyo (2017), the Masters is coming home, beginning its journey in Speyside at the stunning Strathisla distillery where the first luxury whisky Chivas Regal was born, before heading to London later in the week to soak up the delights of the capital of cocktail cool.
And it’s not just about the location, this year the competition is taking inspiration from the core values of brothers John and James Chivas who launched Chivas Regal in 1909. For them, success was all about engaging with the community – their philosophy was that collaboration + generosity = success all round. And who can argue with that?
Above: Regional final winning drink by Yuta Inagaki from Butler, Hong Kong
How will this play out in the competition? Only Matt Whiley, JJ Goodman, Bea Bradsell and Laura-May Coope know the answer to that. They’re this year’s line up of judges who will be setting the missions which need to be accomplished after their respective workshops during the five day event. Mind you, the 21 finalists have already had a head start exploring the theme. To secure their seat at this year’s final they had to create a cocktail inspired by their local community. They’ll get a chance to show it off again in the first challenge, then the rest of the week will see them undergo a series of tasks designed to test their flair, composure, artistry and one more important matter, how they play in a crew.
Regional winning drinks from, above: Michael Chen from The Cannery, China; above: Alex Godfrey from The Milk Thistle, UK
That last bit is crucial as the second part of the competition sees the three top scoring finalists building a team to create the ultimate pop-up bar, complete with theme, vibe, menu and of course a crowd-pleasing signature cocktail inspired by community. The leader of the winning team will be crowned 2018 Chivas Masters Global Champion, nabbing themselves an all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, plus a life-changing opportunity to travel the world with Chivas. Not too shabby at all, eh?
Above: winning regional drink from Valentino Longo from Le Sirenuse Four Seasons, USA
Having had front row seats at each final since the off, we know one thing – it’s going to be equal parts tense and incredibly awesome. And you can experience it for yourself. In keeping with the community spirit of this year’s final, for once the final will be opened up to members of the public. Even better, you’ll get the opportunity to vote for your favourite bar. Tickets are a bargain at £20, particularly as they include a welcome cocktail, a corker of a drink from each of the Chivas Masters pop-up bars, plus whisky masterclasses and tastings throughout the night. The big event takes place at the Oval Space in London on Thursday 28th June. To get your tickets, apply here.
Meet the 2018 Chivas Masters Global Finalists. Who will be the next winner? Have your say on Thursday 28th June.
Argentina – Martin Suaya from JW Bradley
Australia – Louis Marcpherson from Baxter Inn
Brazil – Alex Sepulchro from Frank Bar
Bulgaria – German Gochev from The Martini: Food & Cocktails
China – Michael Chen from The Cannery
Cuba – Fabián Ramos from Restaurante Divino
Czech Republic – Filip Janárek from the Bankers Bar
Dominican Republic – Julio Ruiz from Salitre Restaurante
France – Louis Lebaillif from Little Red Door
Hong Kong – Yuta Inagaki from Butler
Japan – Kentaro Wada from The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo, The Bar
Mexico – Oscar Jesus Armenta Garcia from Puebla
Morocco – Houssam Bennani from The Hilton
Peru – Angel Solorzano Chumpitaz from Felix Brasserie
Poland – Bartosz Konieczny from Ceviche Bar
Switzerland – Chloé Merz from Angels’ Share
Thailand – Arron Grendon from Tropic City
The Netherlands – Rick Marson from The Duchess
United Arab Emirates – Stefano Ruocco from Flamingo Room by Tashas
United Kingdom – Alex Godfrey from The Milk Thistle
USA – Valentino Longo from Le Sirenuse Four Seasons