By Staff writer
Held in Dubai for the first time, 42 Below, the New Zealand-based vodka company, held its annual competition to find the region’s best barman, with nine bartenders from the Burj Al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah and Grosvenor House taking part.
“This competition has been going for three years now, with the winner from each region heading off to New Zealand for a week of mixology training and fun,” said Major Steadman, vodka professor and organiser of the Dubai heat.
“Dubai has an amazing culinary scene, but when it comes to mixology we are so far behind.
We are still serving cocktails like pina coladas and mojitos,” he added.
As part of the competition, five judges including representatives from 42 Below and catering professionals in the region marked each competitor on the originality, style and presentation of the cocktail.
However, the overall winner was Ferdi Idris, bartender from buddha-bar, who created a capsicum martini.
“People are making a lot of drinks using fruits, so I decided to do something completely different and use vegetables instead,” commented Idris.
“I used red, yellow and orange capsicums with coriander seeds, lemongrass, lemon juice and sugar, mixing it all in boiling water for 10 minutes,” he added.
Joining the buddha-bar earlier this year, Idris has been working in the hospitality industry since 2000, working across Indonesia before coming to Dubai.
“I can’t wait to head off to New Zealand later this month, it will be great to meet different people and see what they are doing and the cocktails they are creating,” said Idris.