I got home Friday night and as I was perusing my mail, I found a rather fat envelope with a strange London postmark. There was no return address, and to be honest, I get more mail postmarked from Turlock, California in a month than I do London in a year. Opening the envelope, I found a very well printed invitation to Martin Miller’s Gin Masters Competition 2008 at Death and Co. in NYC on November 9th. Unfortunately for me, I have prior plans and will be in Palm Springs on that day, but this is shaping up to be one hell of a battle between some of the best bartenders in the U.S. and U.K.
Heading up the American team, Canadian Jamie Boudreau of Seattle and Daniel Shoemaker of the TearDrop Lounge here in Portland represent the Pacific Northwest. The American team (perhaps we should just call it Team North America for Jamie's sake?) is rounded out by Vincenzo Marianella, the "Cocktailian Deity of Los Angeles", Giuseppe Gonzalez of the Clover Club in Brooklyn, and the Bay Area's Thad Vogler and Erik Adkins.
The UK team features some of the best talent from Martin Miller's homeland (alas, Simon Difford isn't among this crowd). Jake Burger, Ben Reed, Jason Scott, Sean Muldoon and Giles Looker are some of the top talent in London, Belfast, Leeds and Edinburgh.
The competition features 3 rounds. First, the original cocktail featuring either Miller's or Miller's Westbourne Strength, and contestants must create 3 cocktails in 6 minutes. Next, the classic cocktail, making one of 5 classic cocktails correctly, and being able to discuss the history and merits of each cocktail. And finally, the Gin and Tonic speed round where contestants have 1 minute to create as many drinkable gin and tonics as possible.
Martin Miller's has lined up a veritable Who's Who of Mixology to serve as judges. David Wondrich, Gary Regan, LeNell Smothers, Paul Clarke (from Seattle), Sasha Petraske and Ann Rogers form possibly the scariest panel of judges to face in the history of our craft. I'm sure glad its Boudreau and Shoemaker having to look at that murderers row and not myself.
Anyway, if you happen to be in NYC on November 9th, this will be an event not to miss. leave it to Martin Miller's to throw yet another world class event.