In early April, the third stage of the Diageo Reserve World Class competition was held in St. Petersburg. The topic of the semifinal was working with guests - the bartenders had to not only prepare an exceptional cocktail, but also create the right atmosphere, serve and turn the drink into a full-fledged experience. We asked some semi-finalists to talk about the cocktails that they chose for the competition, the latest trends in the bar world and what to expect from bartenders in 2018.
Bars Insider, "Head", Moscow
At the competition, I prepared a strong drink with hints of yogurt, nuts, as well as crust from explosive caramel and a forest spray. It seems to me that any cocktail always carries some kind of history, and this makes it a full-fledged drink.
A cocktail was never a drink on its own, it was always something more complex: color, texture, taste, the one who prepares it for you, and what is happening around. The task of the last stage of the competition just had a multisensory theme, that is, it was necessary to use all the senses and, most importantly, impress the guest.
Russian bar trends keep pace with the development of our taste and technology, we simplify the appearance of the drink, investing more meaning in its taste. There is a tendency for transparent drinks, because the more transparent the structure, the more taste we feel. How we achieve clear liquids is a slightly different story. I think that we are finally approaching the level of the rest of the world and will rise along with the rest of the great bars in the top 100.
bars Salute, Imbibe, St. Petersburg
The cocktail that I prepared for the Diageo Reserve World Class semi-final was called Synestesiac. This is a pun, as oysters, a well-known aphrodisiac, were included, and the cocktail itself was dedicated to synesthesia. Synaesthesia is a special way of perceiving when certain conditions, phenomena, concepts and symbols are involuntarily endowed with additional qualities. My main task was to involve as many sensory feelings as possible, but to do it in an unusual way. And, as a result, to make guests think about what and how they feel: for example, I tried to make them see the smell and hear the taste. And in general, at competitions, as in life at the bar, not only a drink is important, the complex perception and experience that the guest receives is important, and it consists of your personality, hospitality and many tiny details, where the taste of the drink plays not even the second role.
Of the bar trends, I would call primarily minimalism. Since, fortunately, our guests are more and more aware of what, why and how they drink, the need for pompous ingenious jewelry disappears, which allows us to focus on the drink itself. Of course, I want non-waste production and overall waste reduction to become not just a trend and a fashion movement for one year, but really a part of our everyday work. A bar is a place that produces a huge amount of waste, and, indeed, as reasonable inhabitants of our planet, we should try to minimize their quantity, especially since it is really in our hands.
Bar "Box", Moscow
Many bars have acquired a rotary evaporator (to discolor or thicken drinks) - this is already a trend. The next trend is difficult to predict, but, I think, the focus will be on the guests - on their feelings of comfort and receiving emotions. Also, bartenders will begin to pay attention primarily to what surrounds us, guests and their attitude in the bar, as well as the nature around us. It is difficult to surprise the guest with a drink, but the idea inspires people much more. Now it’s not enough just to have a cocktail or eat a meal, it’s important to convey the emotion and give the atmosphere. Guests want to get into a certain show, performance, literally fail in time and find themselves in a new place. The fashion for non-waste production and biodegradable materials also comes to Russia, soon we will all feel in the menu and the concept of institutions. Tubules, bonfires (coasters for glasses), dishes and storage containers. The use of local products, seasonality and, of course, modern technology will be gradually introduced into all bars. Now, as never before, there is a lot of literature that bartenders write for bartenders! It's time to start caring for the environment.
Bar La Cucaracha, Khabarovsk
At the third stage of the competition, I prepared the La Antigua cocktail. With this drink I want to immerse my guests in the atmosphere of a mysterious and mysterious Guatemala. The drink combines two prides of this country - coffee and rum. The Diageo Reserve World Class Barmen Competition is not only one of the most interesting and challenging contests for bar art masters, but also makes us think with new trends in our profession. One of these innovations is the interaction with the guest: when serving the drink, you need to use all the senses of the person to whom you are preparing the cocktail - this was the topic of the final stage of the competition. According to trends, there is a tendency for bartenders to master new knowledge in the field of modern technical equipment, which allows you to make drinks more fragrant, transparent, textural. For example, using a rotary evaporator, ultrasonic homogenizer, centrifuge. In Russia, bartenders, it seems to me, will begin to pay more attention to technical capabilities, as well as the trend for local, seasonal products will intensify - this trend already exists, but in Russia so far few are doing consistently interesting things.
Selfie restaurant, Moscow
I think this year the topic of discolored drinks will continue to gain momentum, and Russian bartenders will increasingly use local products and hand-made ingredients. As before, a lot of attention will be paid to drinks, combinations, pairing and so on. But I still hope that we can maintain a balance and direct part of this attention to our guests.
The cocktail that I prepared at the competition is called "50/50". It got its name under rather interesting circumstances: the task at this stage was a topic dedicated directly to our guests, I described to the judges one of the fairly common ways of interacting between the bartender and the guest, which is called "surprise me." This is a kind of game when a guest asks to do something to their taste, and the chances of success in such a game are usually 50/50. The drink itself is quite simple to prepare, there are only three ingredients: whiskey, cordial based on fried raisins and persimmons (an idea for which I peeped at our chef) and red wine.