Sake Cocktail Awards 2017: Where Traditional meets Modern

Event-logo-with-sponsorsThe 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 crowned at the end of each day, based on visitors’ votes. The competing mixologists are a diverse assortment, including Japanese sake experts and award-winning London talent. Each day will feature three different contestants, so every Sake Cocktail Awards visitor gets to sample three exciting sake-based drinks!

Visitors can also purchase the sake used by the participating mixologists at HYPER JAPAN’s sake shop, just next to the awards area.


  • For visitors over 18 only
  • Please be aware that last entry is 45 mins before each session.

Tickets can be added on at the end of the normal ticket purchasing process. For those who have already purchased their entrance tickets and would like to purchase Sake Cocktail Awards tickets as well, please contact Ticketweb customer service at 033 3321 9990.

Nominated Mixlogists

FRIDAY 24 November

  • Nathan Ho

    Buddha-Bar London

    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.

  • Thomas Ryan

    Doctor Ink’s Curiosities

    Having initially seen bartending as just as another job, Thomas soon developed a passion for creating cocktails. He gets a buzz when a customer tries a drink for the first time and their face lights up in amazement. Having worked in a number of bars in London, Thomas is now causing a stir in Exeter at the quirky Doctor Ink’s Curiosities. His mantra is, “I’m not trying to make your current favourite drink, I’m trying to find your next one.”

  • Richard Bonus

    Taka Mayfair

    Many of us may have watched the movie Cocktail and wanted to be like Tom Cruise’s character, but Richard was so inspired by the film he decided to make bartending his career. Originally hailing from Hungary, he has already worked at the NY-LON lounge bar and Smith’s Brasserie, and his latest engagement is at the brand new Japanese restaurant Taka in Mayfair. Having achieved his bartending ambitions, Richard’s new goal is to have his own distillery and create custom spirits.

SATURDAY 25 November

  • 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.

  • Cristian Fileccia

    Roka Charlotte Street

    Originally from Italy, Cristian has been a bartender for seven years. He was previously riding high at Oblix on the 32nd floor of the Shard, and now works at the award-winning ROKA in Charlotte Street, which has been one of the capital’s most popular Japanese eateries for many years. He says that behind the bar is the place he expresses his creativity best, and he’s motivated by always striving to exceed his guests’ expectations with truly stunning cocktail creations.

  • Mihail Mihaylov

    Yen London

    Originally from Bulgaria, in his eight years as a bartender Mihail has worked at some of the coolest venues around London, including Tokimeite and Sartoria. His latest posting is at Yen, the fine-dining Japanese restaurant specialising in soba noodles that is opening this autumn in the Strand. To Mihail, the most rewarding aspect of being a bartender is to help people momentarily forget their worries and cares as they enjoy a drink, and put a smile on their face.

SUNDAY 26 November

  • Dario Guaglione

    Worship Street Whistling Shop

    With fifteen years’ bartending experience under his belt, Dario knows how to please his clientele. Nothing is more rewarding than having a customer come over to shake his hand and thank him for the great time they’ve shared together. He currently amazes the punters at Shoreditch’s hip and happening Worship Street Whistling Shop. His mission is to change what people’s perception of a drink can be, by creating concoctions that surpass their wildest dreams and are really innovative.

  • Ryu Okada

    Kampai Cocktails

    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.

  • Kévin Pastant

    Punch Room

    Kévin has travelled the world to learn his craft as a bartender, and in just five years he has worked in such far-flung destinations as Paris, Milan, Shanghai and London. He is currently resident at the Punch Room, an exclusive, reservation-only venue at the London Edition hotel in Soho. Having met many interesting people on his travels, he keenly feels the importance of human interaction when enjoying a drink, and feels it can be the basis of great memories.


Gekkeikan Nigori

Type of Sake: Nigori
Rice Variety: –
Rice Polish Rao / ABV: – / 10.5%
Best Served: 5-15 °c

Nigori means ‘cloudy’ and this style of sake is thicker and creamier in texture, with a milk-like appearance. The ‘cloudiness’ comes from the rice sediment that remains aer passing through a special coarse-mesh filter. Sweet, medium-body, hints of honey and tropical fruit, with a long finish.

By Gekkeikan Sake

Gekkeikan was established in 1637 in the Fushimi district of Kyoto, where the water is as crisp and delicious as the natural surroundings are beauful. Today, Gekkeikan sake, brewed in me-honoured tradion, is enjoyed by drinkers in more than 50 countries worldwide.

Kanjuku-umeshu-700mlOzeki Kanjuku Umeshu

Type of Sake: Plum liqueur (Umeshu)
Best Served: On the rocks, chilled, mixed with soda
Alcohol: 14%

This ume plum liqueur is produced with tree-ripened Nanko-ume; the most famous, high quality plums from Japan’s Wakayama prefecture. Mellowness, richness and natural sweetness are achieved by bringing out the maximum flavour of the ingredients.

logo-ozekiBy Ozeki

The history of Ozeki dates back to 1711, when it began to brew sake in the Imazu area of Nada in Hyogo, making the most of the mineral-rich local spring water. Over three centuries later, the brewery connues to pursue innovaon while upholding tradion.


Type of Sake: Junmai
Rice Variety: Gohyakumangoku
Rice Polish Rao / ABV: 70% / 15%
Best Served: 10-20 °c

Made with the tradional kimoto method. This method enables the yeast and lacc acid bacteria in the yeast starter (shubo) to work well to produce a unique complex and concentrated, yet smooth and elegant texture.


This brewery is located in Nada, one of Japan’s foremost sake making regions. Their unique approach combines modern facilies with tradional methods. Here, a passionate team uses arsanal techniques to brew stunning sake, almost enrely by hand.

Where to buy

Japan Centre
T.K. Trading
Rice Wine Shop