The Opihr Global Competition takes place in just over a week in Venice. Six international bartenders will be competing to be named The Spirit of Opihr 2019. Every day this week we’re catching up with one of them.

Lewis McKenzie

What’s the name of your bar and which country will you be representing?

My bar is the Axis Bar Hilton Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and I’ll be representing The Netherlands.

How long have you been a bartender?

I started bartending around 11 years ago in a Glasgow nightclub and soon progressed to the cocktail scene. I’ve worked with Hilton for over five years and I’m currently the bar manager at the Axis Bar in Amsterdam.

What’s the story with your Opihr cocktail?

My cocktail is a twist on a classic Gimlet. I wanted to base my story around the early Dutch ship charters which set out along the Spice Route on a journey in search of new riches and adventures! In East India they founded a trading post which provided them with a monopoly on all of the exotic herbs and spices of the region. Inspired by Holland’s popular culture and heritage, I used it’s most famous salted liquorice or drop sweet as the basis for my cordial and added some other East Indian ingredients, such as cardamon and fresh limes to compliment the flavour profile of Ophir. Lastly the green chartreuse adds a herbal kick to complete my Drop Kick Gimlet! 

Tell us a little about how Opihr gin works with the locally sourced ingredients in your cocktail

I wanted the Opihr to be the main feature of this drink, which is why I only opted for another two ingredients to bring through some of the great flavours, such as the cardamon, from this very smooth Gin . Some of its more herbal notes are enhanced with a drop of Chartreuse. This is a mix of sweet and sour with some great flavors coming through until the last sip!

The Dutch traded exotic spices and herbs all over the world and one which is still in popular today comes in the form of a traditional sweet called a drop or salted liquorice. This combined with fresh limes and cardamon would have been frequently loaded on to Dutch ships setting sail from their East Indian trading posts.

What are you most looking forward to at the global final in Venice?

I‘m excited to visit Venice as I’ve have never been to Italy, so this will be a new adventure for me. Furthermore I can’t wait to test my skills and knowledge against some fantastic bartenders from across the globe. The opportunity to learn from each other and make lasting connections is going to be a great experience.

Describe yourself in three words

Innovative. Passionate. Disciplined.

Drop Kick Gimlet

50ml Opihr Gin
20ml drop kick cordial (salted liquorice, lime and cardamom)
10ml Chartreuse

Shake all ingredients over ice and double strain into a Nick & Nora Glass. Serve on a Dutch tile.

The Opihr Global Cocktail Competition takes place in Venice 26th September. Read more about it here.
Look out for another Opihr Global Cocktail Competition finalist interview tomorrow. 

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