The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 48



On the road to Tokyo: meet the 15 Chivas Masters Finalists

ByThe Cocktail Lovers


There’s less than two weeks to go before the 15 Chivas Masters finalists fly out to Tokyo for what promises to be a corker of a competition. And we can’t wait!

As Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal says: “Our 15 national winners have already hugely impressed us with both their skill and character, but there’s still much more to do if they want to be crowned our 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion,” he’s not kidding. As he goes on to say: ” The values of community, collaboration and generosity lie at the very heart of this competition, and successful participants must not only impress a world-renowned panel of judges, but demonstrate that they embody these values every step of the way.”

How so we hear you cry? Try this out for size: not only will the finalists have to prove that they know what’s what on an individual level, they’ll need to show how they can pull together as a team as well. It ain’t going to be easy and neither should it be, the winner, who will be announced on the evening of 5th July, will win an all-access, all-expenses paid, money-can’t-buy experience of a lifetime trip to Tales of The Cocktail in New Orleans, plus the much prized Chivas Regal The Icon, presented in a bespoke decanter with customised glassware made in Japan, natch, and if that wasn’t enough, they will also have a year of awesomeness representing Chivas Regal with Max Warner.

Of course, such a prestigious competition calls on an ace host in the form of Masa Urushido, the very first Chivas Master no less, and impressive panel of judges. Step forward Iain Griffiths, co-founder of Mr Lyan Ltd and Trash Tiki; Micah Melton, beverage director at Alinea Group and renowned ice chef; Chris Lowder, spirits evangelist; Dré Masso, ex-director of bars for the Potato Head Group and cocktail mentor and spirit creator, and Rogerio Igarashi Vaz owner of Tokyo’s Tram & Trench.

It’s going to be an incredible five days, and you can follow it all through our social media channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as tuning into live coverage of the Global Final on 5th July at Chivas Regal Instagram Stories.

One of the following will be the next Chivas Masters winner. Who’s your money on? Follow all the action and show some love for your favourite at #ChivasMasters

Atsushi Suzuki from Sober Company, Shanghai

Having started bartending as a means to an end as a 17 year old, China’s Atsushi Suzuki’s work behind the bar has rapidly developed into a career that has enabled him to travel the world. Runner-up in 2016’s Chivas Masters China heat, Atsushi went one better in 2017, and now has his sights set firmly on Tokyo.

“Teamwork and respect are definitely a must to run a bar well. But for me the most crucial aspect to bar work is the desire to learn.”

Aloisek Rodríguez Martínez from Royalton Jazz Bar at Royalton Hicacos Varadero

Winner of the national final in Cuba, Aloisek Rodríguez Martínez is a bartending purist. The art of mixology is Aloisek’s greatest passion, allowing him to showcase his creativity and share the pride that he has for his culture.

“A great bar team is one in which everyone is working for the same purpose and vision, making each individual bartender a complement of the other.”

Sandra Šalatová from Hemingway Bar, Prague

Prague’s Sandra Šalatová has already achieved the remarkable feat of qualifying for the final by winning her first ever major competition – the Czech Republic regional heat. Sandra now has her eyes firmly set on a new first, becoming the first ever female Chivas Masters Global Champion.

“So far I would consider my biggest achievement to be reaching the final, competing alongside some of the greatest bartenders in the world. I’m going to go one better in Tokyo, as I hope to be crowned the first woman to win the Chivas Masters.”

Hyacinthe Lescoët from Les Grand Verres, Paris

Parisian Hyacinthe Lescoët thrives amidst the pressures of his craft, providing everyday creativity in a socially demanding and highly competitive environment. But above all else, the greatest value that Hyacinthe finds in bartending is achieving the appreciation of those around him.

“Great bartending is all about passion and sharing. Once those are instilled in your work, the rest will flow.”

Daniel Huggins from Auroom, Münich

As Germany’s representative in the global final, Daniel Huggins’ love for the craft of cocktail-making is cemented by his passion for hosting – forever seeking to provide the perfect experience for his customers. For Daniel, the camaraderie and respect found within bartending is what makes it so special.

“I want to be known as a bartender with empathy and expertise, always willing to turn your evening into a great experience.”

Ryan Nightingale from Aberdeen Street Social, Hong Kong

Representing Hong Kong, Ryan Nightingale loves the variety of bartending, experienced both through the drinks that he makes, and in the exciting mix of customers coming through the door. With plentiful experience of crafting his own creations, Ryan takes his greatest enjoyment from watching his customers enjoy what he has worked tirelessly to perfect.

“The constant aim for perfection is a cornerstone of the Japanese bar community. I’m heading to Tokyo ready to gain a better understanding of this, which I then hope to express in my final serves.”

Masato Sakurai from The Bar Kusama Ginza, Tokyo

Masato Sakurai first encountered cocktail-making after the tragic passing of his grandfather, devoting his time to craft his skill as a bartender to help him deal with the grief. As a proud son of Japan, and with the hometown support fully behind him, Masato is hoping to honour his grandfather’s faith in him by being crowned the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion.

“I am obviously determined to be crowned Chivas Masters Global Champion, however the greatest experience that I can take away from the final will be the brotherhood that I will gain with my fellow finalists.”

Haydée Barron Flores from Oliveria Cocktail Bar, Guadalajara

With dreams of being considered an ambassador of Mexican bartending, Haydée Barron Flores’ love for her work comes from the creativity that it allows her, and then having the opportunity to share her creations with others and witness the moment that the drinks create first-hand.

“In learning my craft I believe that I have learnt more about myself, my flaws and my strengths. It has all lead me to this moment – the chance to represent my country in the Chivas Masters Global Final.”

Wouter Bosch from Rosalia’s Menagerie, Amsterdam

Winner of the regional final in The Netherlands, philosophy graduate Wouter Bosch’s love for bartending centres upon the memories and experiences that his drinks create. Rather than be the star of the show himself, Wouter’s bartending style is all about letting the drink do the talking.

“Nothing is as rewarding as having people coming up to the bar and telling you that you’ve made their night. I’m inspired by that, and hope to create many lasting experiences for my guests.”

Patryk Biadacz from Weles, Warsaw

Poland’s Patryk Biadacz place in the final is the culmination of ten years of hard work crafting his bartending skill. Patryk’s passion for the trade stems from his love for every aspect of bar work, and he is eager to prove that in Tokyo.

“Just like the mixing of cocktails, a perfect balance of ingredients is crucial to a great bar team.”

Abner Barrientos from Caneca Coctelaria Movil, San Juan

Having originally taken up bar work to support his studies, Abner Barrientos’ perfectionist qualities were realised through bartending, soon transforming into a passion for the trade. Abner’s flexible and open outlook to his work has enabled him to embrace new cultures and perspectives from all of the customers that he has served on his bartending journey.

“As a bartender, every day is a challenge, however every challenge should be viewed as an opportunity to grow and develop.”

Roger Grüter from Angels’ Share, Basel

Hailing from Basel, Roger Grüter is dedicated to perfecting his craft as an expert cocktail-maker, a dream that he hopes will come true in Tokyo. Roger is looking at the final as an opportunity to enhance his bartending skills, taking away all that he can from the much-revered Japanese culture.

“Attentiveness and authenticity are key ingredients to the cocktail experience. I always work to ensure that my guests leave happier than they came.”

Benjamin Boyce from Bistrot Bagatelle, Dubai

Like many of this year’s finalists, Benjamin Boyce’s first experience of bartending was a chance encounter, which has blossomed into a fruitful and impassioned career. For Benjamin, the key to success for any bar team is the application of the three Ts: training, teamwork and trust.

“The Chivas Masters is an amazing opportunity to learn from the experiences of different bartenders, all coming from a wide range of countries and cultures, to experience Japanese culture, and to have a lot of fun while doing so.”

Rhys Wilson from Happiness Forgets, London

An actor by trade, the UK’s Rhys Wilson’s bartending style stems from his belief that performance on the stage, and that behind the bar, are not too dissimilar. Rhys is already looking forward to all that he can take away from the experience in Tokyo, especially having the opportunity to collaborate with his fellow finalists.

“A great bar is not just about what’s in the glass, it’s about the whole show. I love taking care of my audience and putting on a great show for them.”

Adam Schmidt from PDT, New York

Representing the USA, New York native Adam Schmidt enjoys mixing his sense of humour into his drinks. Having previously spent time exploring Barcelona’s vibrant cocktail scene, Adam can’t wait to get out of his comfort zone again in Tokyo.

“What inspired me to be a bartender? As a youngster I had a part-time job dishwashing in a local bar. To me it always looked like the bartenders were having the most fun. I was right.”








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The Cocktail Lovers

The Cocktail Lovers are Mr G and Ms S, a man and a woman who share a passion for cocktails. (We also happen to be married, so we’re cocktail lovers in more ways than one…)


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The Cocktail Lovers Magazine Issue 48
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