Haute Scene: Bombay Sapphire Host Most Imaginative Bartender NYC Competition

Steve Wagner, Dimitri Zahariadis, Brett Hughes, Gregory Buda, Jesse Vida and Jaime Rios (L-R)
Steve Wagner, Dimitri Zahariadis, Brett Hughes, Gregory Buda, Jesse Vida and Jaime Rios (L-R)

On Tuesday evening, VIPs gathered in Midtown at Lavo Italian restaurant and nightclub to witness tri-state’s elite mixology talent compete to represent North America in the World’s Most Imaginative Bartender Global Competition.

Upon arrival guests were greeted with a number of complimentary cocktails, like a gin and tonic. During the complimentary consumer cocktail hour, event-goers had the opportunity to sample and vote for the most innovative cocktails presented by mixologists.

The competing bartenders included Jaime Rios (Top of the Standard), Steve Wagner, Jesse Vida (Parlor), Brett Hughes (Madame Geneva), Gregory Buda (The Up & Up/Parlor) and Dimitri Zahariadis (Shamrock/Vasi’s/Spartan), the only compeitor repersenting Connecticut.

All aforementioned bartenders endured a series of challenging timed sessions, surprise twists and blind tastings, conducted by a panel of well-regarded judges including Bombay Sapphire North American Brand Ambassador Gary HaywardBombay Sapphire Global Brand Ambassador Raj Nagra, USBG’s Meaghan Doman, and United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Pam Wiznitzer. After cafreful deliberation, Buda and his “The Laughing Admiral”, an innovative recipe made with mace tincture, homemade almond syrup, nardini acqua di cedro and Christian Drouin Hard Cider was selected as the most creative cocktail in New York City. The judges chose Buda’s cocktail based on appearance, aroma, imagination and taste.

Buda will continue on to Las Vegas in September to vie for the ultimate title as well as clout and bragging rights.

“I am truly honored to be recognized for my cocktail,” said Buda, “especially after competing against some of the best bartenders in New York City, many of whom are peers that I respect and admire. The USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin have always done an incredible job of spotlighting emerging bartenders and cultivating our craft. It’s thrilling to be a part of that legacy and I look forward to representing New York City at the North American finals in Vegas!”

Below is Buda’s recipe

The Laughing Admiral
1.5 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
2 dashes mace tincture
0.25 oz. almond biz (2 orgeat: 1 noyau du poissy)
0.25 oz nardini acqua di cedro
0.5 oz cardamaro
Top with 2.5 oz. of Christian Drouin Hard Cider

Stir and strain.
Glassware: Flute
Garnish: Lemon oils

Check out photos from the event below.