Gerda Viks from the restaurant Volga 7 took home the title of best bartender at the Viru Valge Grand Prix on Friday 3 May. Second prize went to Ljudmilla Jevonen from Venus Club and in third place was Kristo Tomingas, owner of Butterfly Lounge and currently the highest-rated bartender in Estonia. The winner’s cocktail – ‘Viru Valge Paradise’ – was chosen as the brand’s official summer cocktail for 2013.
The winner in the international category was Inguss Reizenbergs from Latvia. In addition to 28 Estonian contestants, 11 bartenders from other countries also took part in the Grand Prix.
“I told my friends prior to the competition that I was going to make a cocktail for myself using ingredients I like – and as it turned out, other people liked it as well!” said winner Gerda Viks.
“As expected, the competition was very strong,” said Ron Busman, Vice-President of the International Bartenders Association and one of the judges at the event. “Yet the way the contestants crafted their drinks and their showmanship still surprised me – it was very impressive! The entire show was so entertaining that you could compare it to a great movie. I really enjoyed it.”
“Held alongside the competition was the conference of the International Bartenders Association, and our guests were delighted with both the organisational side of the competition and the level of talent displayed,” said Margit Kikas, Vice-President of the Estonian Bartenders Association. “From the international perspective, the Viru Valge Grand Prix was the first serious bartenders competition in Estonia.”
“With the Viru Valge Grand Prix we’re encouraging bartenders to come up with new cocktails, offering them a professional challenge and a chance to learn from their colleagues,” said Janek Kalvi, President of AS Liviko. “As a result, their level of professionalism and alcohol culture as a whole will be boosted even further.”
To participate in the Viru Valge Grand Prix, each of the contestants had to submit a recipe for their own cocktail. The international jury chose the top three based on the preparation of the drink and the showmanship involved. After a written test and early rounds, seven bartenders were selected to face one another in the final.
The winner, Gerda Viks, was awarded a trophy and a trip worth €500 to the travel destination of her choice.
This year’s competition was the second Viru Valge Grand Prix. A conference of the International Bartenders Association was held in Tallinn as part of the event.