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A Ride-Along for the Bombay Sapphire/GQ Most Inspired Bartender Contest

On Thursday, I rode around to a bunch of bars in San Francisco with Nick Kosevich, co-owner of Bittercube and Bombay Sapphire ambassador. He was judging bartenders for the San Francisco leg of the Bombay Sapphire and GQ Most Inspired Bartender competition.

I figured I should see how it went as I am juding the national competition in Las Vegas on September 11-13. 

The competing bartenders were Victoria D' Amato-Moran, Matt Gunderson, Rosalind Holm, Michelle Lester, Joe Wyre, Brandon Clements, Evans Horn, Ronaldo Colli, Edgar Tamayo, Priscilla Young, H. Joseph Ehrmann (represented by Shea), Brandon Reim, Trip Hosley, Carlo Splendorini, Yael Amyra, Bill Kelley, Allison Webber, Daniel Dombrowski, and Andrew Marks. They represented bars Belden Taverna Restaurant, Thirsty Bear, Blue Muse, Waterbar, Spruce, Ozumo, Americano, Sheba Piano Lounge, Mandarin Oriental, Elixir, The CafĂ©, Sauce, Michael Mina, Circolo Ultralounge, Barndiva Restaurant, Jaspers Corner Tap and Kitchen, Solage, and Argus Lounge. 

I joined for just one day of the competition. I saw Shea at Elixir make a drink with black pepper, watermelon, honey, and Bombay Sapphire. 


I saw Evans Horn at Ozumo produce a spicy drink with Sapphire, Canton, Hum, Carpano, and cranberry bitters. 


At Waterbar, Joe Wyre made a drink with gin, Lillet, St. Germain, gin, and lemon juice to pair with a giant platter of oysters. 


Victoria D'amato-Moran at Belden Taverna made a cocktail with saffron-infused Bombay Sapphire, falernum, orange juice, lemon juice, and egg white. 


Brandon Reim at The Cafe made a drink with gin, maraschino liqueur, black cherry jam, gum syrup, and lemon; garnished with a thick slice of peel with orange blossom water in it to remove the egg white smell. 


And Yael Amyra whipped up one with Bombay Sapphire, vanilla bean-infused Dolin Blanc vermouth, yuzu, grapefruit, lemon, lavender and verbena-infused honey, egg white, lavender bitters, sage, and lemon verbena. 


But none of these delicious drinks won the contest. Naturally, it was the bar/bartender they visited just before I joined them:

Brandon Clements from Spruce won the contest and will be representing San Francisco in the Bombay Sapphire and GQ Most Inspired Bartender Contest in Las Vegas in September. 

Congratulations Brandon and see you in Vegas!


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I had a chance to taste Brandon Reim's and it was amazing. I've always found gin to be a little too sharp for my taste, but if these other ones are even half as good, I'm a Bombay convert. Interesting that so many of these recipes call for egg whites. The only gin drink I make (a gin fizz) does as well.

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