DRAM Mixxit Bar Apprentice of the Year 2016: Day Six

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Katharine Gemmell will be following our DRAM Mixxit Bar Apprentices of the Year 2016 each week as a quasi-contestant to experience the competition and let us know what they have been up to.

The last day of the DRAM Mixxit Bar Apprentice of the Year 2016 has come and it got me thinking about the past nine years that the competition has run. Looking at back copies of the DRAM magazine, I find out that the first winner of the competition all those years ago was a guy named Tom Hodgkins.

At further inspection, a lad named Ryan Chetiyawardana was also highly commended that year. When I read the name I get the feeling I’ve heard that name before. Then, on further inspection, I realise that it is because I actually do! Ryan is pretty famous in the cocktail world and has achieved amazing things in his young career as a mixologist so far. Known as Mr Ryan-Lyan, he has won multiple awards including International Bartender of the Year 2015. His two London cocktail bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, based in the Mondrian Hotel, are inspired venues that won World’s Best New Bar 2014 & 2015.

It’s amazing to think that he was a DRAM Mixxit Bar Apprentice back in the day and now he is a worldwide cocktail master. It makes me smile that this could be any of this year’s contestants – I hope they remember me when they are famous! It just goes to show that schemes like this really could be what inspires those new to the industry to stick at it and build themselves a lasting career.

Our last day begins with – yes, you guessed it – THEORY! If you have kept up with my blog over the past three weeks then you will understand that the Mixxit team are all about their education. This is not like the last day of school where you get to relax and watch a wee video – this is the hardcore bar apprentice course where learning takes precedence.

Today we explore the world of Cognac and specifically Courvoisier, which was a favourite of Napolean. Teddy tells us some really cool stories about Courvoisier’s history in Paris and we learn that there was only two drinks served at the opening of the Eiffel Tower – champagne and Courvoisier.

As much as I have really enjoyed learning all about the history and distillation processes of the spirits, I really will not miss sitting on bar stools for hours on end.

At last, the moment that we have all been dutifully preparing for arrives – the dreaded theory test! The test covers all of the theory that we have learned over all six sessions and, to be quite frank, is bloody hard. However, from all the notes that the apprentices took over the last few weeks I know that they have this in the bag.

Once the test is over it is time for the fun bit, with the apprentices going head to head in the big finale cocktail competition. Our editor Susan brings along Beverley Lyons to form a judging panel with the Mixxit team.

The apprentices all do a fantastic job at presenting and making their cocktails and don’t seem nervous at all, they are relaxed and confident in what they have learned. Sue and Bev seem well impressed and enjoy a taste of all the creative delights. Bev even filmed a great video of all the apprentices with their cocktails.

The apprentices all do a fantastic job at presenting and making their cocktails and don’t seem nervous at all, they are relaxed and confident in what they have learned. Sue and Bev seem well impressed and enjoy a taste of all the creative delights. Bev even filmed a great video of all the apprentices with their cocktails.

Now that the entire course is the only thing left to do is for a winner to be picked by the judges and the award ceremony at the glistening Scottish Bar and Pubs Awards 2016. It’s been a great journey and I’m just dying to find out who has won.

 

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