Swiss Bartenders Win the 2014 Cointreau Championship
Switzerland’s “Expert” Dirk Hany and upcoming “Talent” Simon Brandmayer took the top prize at Clouds in Hamburg, with Germany’s finalist team coming in a close second. The Fizz was the highlighted cocktail of the evening.
This was the fourth annual Cointreau Championship and the first time the competition was open to international contestants. The two-person teams each consisted of one acknowledged “Expert” bartender and one rising new “Talent”, and the eight teams in Hamburg came from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. After two elimination rounds the last men standing were the German team of “Expert” Miguel Fernandez from Roomers Bar in Frankfurt and “Talent” Robert Taseski from Pusser’s Bar in Munich facing off against the Swiss team of “Expert” Dirk Hany, Bar Manager at Widder Bar in Zurich and “Talent” Simon Brandmayer from Zurich’s Onyx Bar. With a grand prize of 3,000 Euros per winning team member on the line, the Swiss team nosed out the German contenders to take home the title.
Great European skill
Third place went to the team from the Czech Republic/Slovakia with Tomáš Kubíček and Martin Zemanovič. Despite just missing out on the final as a result of the KO system, the two still managed to thrill the audience with perfectly coordinated appearances. Jury member Gerhard Kozbach-Tsai commented on the competition’s level of skill saying, “The Swiss team deserved the win, but it could easily have gone to the Germans or the Czech/Slovakian team. The presentations by the three best teams were very impressive”. Fellow jury member and Cologne-based bar owner Volker Seibert agreed when he said, “The extraordinary expertise was already evident in the semi-final, and it continued through the final”. The top four teams now proceed to the Cointreau Academy in Angers, France and then on to Paris with all the other finalists. While Gerhard Kozbach-Tsai finds the team concept of one “Expert” and one “Talent” interesting, he also believes there’s room for improvement. Kozbach-Tsai noted, “I think team competitions like this should happen much more often. They reflect daily life in a bar much better than just one competitor can. There could also be a greater focus on the ‘Talent’ with the ‘Expert’ in a more advisory role”.
It’s all about the Fizz
The focus of this year’s competition was again the classic Fizz cocktail. The judges were looking for a contemporary, creative interpretation that still retained the character of a true Fizz. The semi-final for Germany’s contestants was held earlier at Seiberts in Cologne, with twelve bartenders ultimately qualifying for the final. In addition to the teams named above the other contestants were Esra Cakir and Bulent Sefer from Turkey, Hungarian András Óder teamed with Nicole Kot from Poland and Daniel Hubmann and Johannes Suntinger from Austria. The other German teams appearing were “Expert” Anna Knorr from Munich’s “Barschule München” bartending academy with “Talent” Maximilian Vogel from “Seiberts Bar” in Kassel and “Expert” Christian Weber from Sullivan in Frankfurt with “Talent” Max Bergfried from the LiQ Bar in Dusseldorf. The jury was headed by Alfred Cointreau and again featured outstanding experts in Uwe Christiansen, Volker Seibert, Stephan Hinz and Mohammad Nazzal along with Maxime Hoerth from Le Bar du Bristol in Paris, Gerhard Kozbach-Tsai from Austria and Peter Roth from Kronenhalle in Zurich. As in previous years, the evening’s host for the final was once again Helmut Adam from MIXOLOGY Magazine.
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Translated by John Jeffrey Collier