G'Vine bartender competition has a twist

William M. Dowd photo

Every now and then a new twist on an old product can be welcome. It helps shake up any complacency you have about your spirits selections.

In the matter of gin, I'd long ago fallen into a Bombay Sapphire rut. A wonderful concoction, that Sapphire. So perfect for my palate that even when I felt the urge for a change of pace I had difficulty zeroing in on another label. Until G'Vine came along.

As my "Tasting Notes" comments reflect, one of the key ingredients in this handcrafted, limited edition 80-proof French gin is the rare and subtle green grape flower. It had made G'Vine a standout since its introduction to the market in 2007.

In an effort to put G'Vine on the lips of more people, in a variety of ways, the maker has launched an international search for "the most exceptional gin bartender" as part of the G’Vine Connoisseur Program.

I'm told there already are more than 190 entrants from around the world.

The competition’s 12 global finalists will be flown to Paris and Cognac for a week of challenges, seminars and the opportunity to run their own bar at the G’Vine Spring Ball. The winner will receive $3,000 in prize money and a trip for two to Amsterdam, London and Paris to explore the past, present and future of gin.

Each entrant is required to complete an online examination process that includes five "interactive modules" which together make up an extensive overview of the gin category. The exams are supervised and graded by Philip Duff, a noted international spirits expert and owner of Liquid Solutions Bar & Beverage Consulting and Door 74 in Amsterdam. The deadline to complete all exams is December 15. Contenders also must create an original G’Vine cocktail and include it on their bar‘s cocktail list until January 31, 2010.

“Unlike other cocktail competitions where the focus is only on the end-use cocktail created by the bartender, the G’Vine Connoisseur Program is seeking a bartender with an unmatched knowledge, and creativity -- basically a bartender who is obsessed with gin," said Audrey Fort, EWG marketing and business development director.

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