The Sake Cocktail Awards are a rare opportunity for visitors to watch a selection of professional mixologists shake up original cocktails right in front of them, which they then have the opportunity to sample. A winner is selected at the end of each day, based on visitors’ votes. Here are the results for this year's competition.
Sunday, 26 Nov
Winner: Ryu Okada
Ryu grew up in Japan and lived in Sydney before moving to London. He is a seasoned sommelier and mixologist with experience working at a number of top establishments from Tokyo to London. He is now director of a mobile cocktail bar company, Kampai Cocktails (named after the Japanese for cheers!), serving delicious cocktails for all occasions in London and the South East. His priority when mixing a cocktail is to create the correct balance of flavour, colour and appearance.
Kishu Fruits Iced Tea
Inspired by the bounteous local produce of the Kishu region of Japan, Ozeki Kanjuku Umeshu is flavoured with a homemade peach and orange syrup, jasmine tea and amaretto.
Saturday, 25 Nov
Winner: Michele Reina
Smith & Whistle
Michele learned his trade in hospitality from a firm teacher who rarely gave praise and set him near-impossible goals; his hotelier father! Michele found his calling behind the bar, where he could interact with customers and express himself creatively in cocktail form. He is a keen forager and self-taught chemist, and these pursuits are reflected in his use of rare botanical bitters and custom cocktail ingredients. He puts these skills to use at the Smith and Whistle on Park Lane.
Inspired by the milky texture of the Gekkeikan Nigori sake, this cocktail is protected by Mizuchi the water dragon, which takes the form of a specially-created milk punch.
Friday, 24 Nov
Winner: Nathan Ho
Nathan’s initial ambitions in bartending were fairly modest; he wanted to be able to pour a pint and vault the bar in order to stop a fight, but since then he has far exceeded them and has impressed patrons at a string of venues across London with his cocktail prowess, including the iconic gastropub The Gun in Docklands. He currently works at London’s Buddha-Bar, the high-end pan-Asian venue where he brings his British-Chinese heritage to bear on his creations.
Saké Me Sideways
Inspired by the Asian dessert of mango and sticky rice, the Gekkeikan Nigori sake is combined with coconut cream, lemon vodka yuzu juice and mango syrup for a tropical aroma.