The event included a selection of Atlanta’s most promising bartending talent to compete in the regional finals. After a series of challenging timed sessions, surprise twists and blind tastings by a panel of esteemed judges including Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassador Scott Mayer, Thorn’s innovative Pickfair’s Garden, made with citrus juice and Cocchi Americano, was recognized as the most original mixology masterpiece in her hometown.
The Virginia-Highland resident’s winning creation will now advance her to the guild’s Bartender Summit Sept. 8 in Las Vegas, where she will share the stage with 51 of the country’s top mixologists for a chance at the title of USBG Nation’s Most Imaginative Bartender. If she takes the title in Las Vegas, Thorn will then secure herself a coveted spot in the third annual global finals.
“It’s truly an honor to have the opportunity to be nationally recognized in my field,” she said. “The notion that the national recognition could turn into global recognition is simply surreal.”
Ned Duggan, brand director of Bombay Sapphire gin, added, “Continuing to expand the reach of the USBG Bartender competition across oceans after six successful years in the U.S. is an exciting move for the program. Since our past two global summits unearthed incomparable emerging talent, we have even higher hopes for this year’s national finalists, like Kellie. We wish her the best of luck in Las Vegas.”
Taking Las Vegas will be no easy feat, however, as the guild will be conducting a highly comprehensive search around the country this summer to discover the best new and imaginative creations from the next generation of mixology stars. It will visit various, world-renowned restaurants to dim and intimate members-only clubs to taste-test each selected city’s contending cocktails.
During the Las Vegas summit, one mixologist will be selected as the nation’s USBG Most Imaginative Bartender, resulting in a cover feature in the December GQ magazine Men of The Year issue. The winner will also be a guest bartender at the GQ Man of the Year event in Los Angeles and will attend the Global Finals in 2014.
Here is a copy of the recipe for her winning cocktail:
1 1/2 oz. Bombay Sapphire
1 oz citrus juice (mix of lemon and grapefruit juice)
3/4 oz. Cocchi Americano
1/2 oz. spiced sugar syrup (juniper, coriander, bayleaf)
4 drops Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
For the cocktail base:
Combine all ingredients, except for the bitters and foam, with ice and shake. Fine strain into a coupe. Add Cardamom bitters and carefully top with carrot foam. Garnish with candied carrot twist and sprig of carrot top.