Over the last year many a bar opened and many bars closed. They will hopefully continue to do so in next year and inspire us with new cocktail menus. But before we jump straight into what the future holds, we want to look back over the last 12 months. For this very reason we’ve compiled our highly unscientific list of people who we believe changed the industry in one way or another. Have a look!
So much fantastic work has been done this year and we’d like to take a moment to honor those who worked tirelessly to propel change and who continue to ensure that this industry of ours remains a great, ever evolving space. We regret that we’re unable to include each and every one who did a stand up job this year, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top ten bartenders that we believe truly made a change in the industry in 2016. We can not wait to see what the next year brings!
1) Ago Perrone
Not only did The Connaught win World’s Best Cocktail Bar at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, but Agostino Perrone also won the Best European Mixologist and the Best European Bar award at the 2017 MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS. One could say it’s been a preeetty damn good year for Ago. The Lake Como native was the subject of a Thrillist piece in October, in which author Haley Forest explores how he changed London’s cocktail scene in 2016. The Connaught is launching a new menu early next year, and we can’t wait to see what’s on it.
2) Tess Posthumus
Tess Posthumus was one of the ten people nominated for the International Bartender of the Year award at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. She’s currently stationed at Amsterdam’s infamous Door 74 bar and she just so happened to write a book this year. “Cocktails met Tess” (that’s “Cocktail with Tess” for all you non-Dutch speakers) is a fun, boozy recipe book that easily translates the complex art of mixing for amateurs. A fantastic present for beginners who are eager to learn.
3) Thanos Prunarus
The Athens bar scene has exploded over the last 12 months and you’ll find Thanos Prunarus in the thick of it. Not only were we very pleased to welcome Thanos as a judge at for the European MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS but in the middle of this busy year, he also managed to launch a gorgeous new publication that focuses on all things cocktail and bar culture: Fine Magazine is a standout of its kind, a lush publication that has dedicated itself to all our favorite things!
4) Alex Kratena & Simon Caporale
Must one even say more about these two? Kratena and Caporale announced their departure from London’s Artesian bar shortly after it was named World’s Best Bar for the fourth year running in 2015. They’ve definitely kept busy since. The dynamic duo launched their non-profit drinks summit P(our) to great international acclaim at the Paris Cocktail Spirits this summer. They have a couple more joint projects up their sleeves and we can’t wait to see what they do next.
5) Monica Berg
The Scandinavian trend has hit Europe hard and it does not look like it’s going anywhere. Much like aquavit (on which she is an expert), Monica Berg is no flash in the pan. Berg not only spent the year showcasing aquavit’s versatility and bringing it one step closer to both consumers as well as fellow bartenders, she also acted as a founding member of the aforementioned (P)our symposium, and was nominated as International Bartender of the Year at the Spirited Awards. We’d say it’s been a pretty good 2016.
6) Remy Savage
It’s not like Remy Savage has been a secret over the past couple of years, but he truly managed to achieve new heights over the last 12 months. Not only did he create a truly stunning bar menu with the Evocative Menu at Paris’ Little Red Door but he also wow’ed the general (barfly) public with his noteworthy talk on “Behind the Bar at Little Red Door, Paris” at this year’s Bar Convent Berlin.
7) Marian Beke
Marian Beke opened a new bar this year. You might have heard of it, it’s called The Gibson. Not only did Marian Beke open a new bar, but said new bar managed to snag the Best New European Bar award at the MIXOLOGY BAR AWARDS 2017. The Gibson also placed sixth in this year’s World’s 50 Best Bars. Congrats Marian Beke, it’s been a good year!
8) Dirk Hany
Dirk Hany is one of the few important German-speaking players who actively engage with the international community in English. He’s a fantastic representative of the GSA-area and we’re so proud to have him. Just last month Hany announced his departure from Zurich’s Widder Bar. Early February 2017 Hany will return to his roots as brand ambassador and take up his new job as Pernod Ricard’s Prestige Manager. Congrats!
9) Ryan Chetiyawardana
Earlier this year Mr. Lyan himself announced that the White Lyan, as a bar, would be closing down at the end of 2016, only to open as a creative development space. It’s a move that’s reminiscent of René Redzepi (who also decided to close down his restaurant this year, but which is said to re-open in a different incarnation under the same name). Once the greats are at the top, they have to keep moving and challenging themselves to continue playing the game at that level. A challenge that Chetiyawardana seems more than happy to accept.
10) Carina Soto Velasquez
Paris-based Quixotic Projects is responsible for a good amount of cool bars dotting the French capital, including the Candelaria. As a partner in the Quixotic Projects, the Colombian native is gaining international recognition that spans beyond our industry and into the world as a whole.
Bildquelle: Photo via Shutterstock.