The crown of World Class Irish Bartender of the Year 2017 will be bestowed in Zozimus on May 30, when six finalists from around the country will go head to head.
It's taken a year of challenges and mystery bar visits, but the final round of the prestigious bartending competition will see our last remaining competitors endure difficult challenges under the critical gaze of an expert panel — which includes John Torode of MasterChef.
The victor will be asked to represent Ireland in the Global Final of the competition in Mexico City this September.
Check out our third competitor doing his thing and learn why he got involved with the contest...
Bartender: Martin Holec
Cocktail: Bloody Marry
Spirit: Ketel One
40ml Ketel one vodka (basil)
60ml Tomato Water
10ml Noilly Prat
5ml Lemon Juice
1 dash Celery Bitters
*Mezcal (spray the glass)- optional, depending on an individual’s taste
Basil Ketel One: 6g of basil leaves are 'cooked' with 700ml of Ketel One in sous vide for 1hour at 52 degrees temperature.
Why should people come to Delahunt?
I consider Delahunt one of the most original and unique places to socialise in Ireland. Although the beautiful building dates back to 1906, the business is new to the hospitality scene here in Dublin. In a short period of time we have managed to gain a Michelin Bib Gourmand in two consecutive years.
To add to Delahunt's history, the family who runs the venue built a cocktail bar on our first floor where I got the opportunity to run it by myself. Our whole concept is to offer a very special place where both the discerning drinkers and cocktail beginners could enjoy every aspect of our hospitality. We believe that this level could only be achieved by having a very limited amount of staff, so our standards are on the same high level every time you visit us.
I consider myself a big fan of old school bartending. I try to keep our menu short, change it seasonally and use only local and mainly Irish ingredients for an authentic Dublin experience.
What’s the best thing about working behind the bar?
I think one of the great things about working behind the bar is the infinite amount of people you get to meet on a daily basis and the way you can control and affect their whole experience in your bar by simply being their host.
What’s trending in the bar scene right now?
There are a good few trends right now. All the great bars are unique and original to their ethos, but plenty of them are focusing on bringing the classic cocktails back to pedestals, with no or very little garnish.
There's also a major trend on sustainability. Famous bars such as Operation Dagger in Singapore, and London bars Untitled bar, Peg+Patriot, Gibson, Dandelyan are using local ingredients, seasonal menus, foraging their own botanicals and searching for new flavours.
And, of course, most of the bars are bringing their main focus back to the guest, offering personal service and creating the experience the customer wants.
Why should people see bartending as a profession?
Bartending plays a big part in hospitality. A bartender these days is a host. They're the one at every stage of a great night. They’re predicting the way the night will go and acting accordingly. They’re setting the mood and creating the ambience of the night.
On top of all of that, there's huge pressure on us to deliver a perfectly executed drink in a short period of time and with a smile on our face at any time of the day or night and in any circumstances. It’s a tough job when it’s done right.
Who’s the coolest bartender in the world right now and why?
There are plenty of the great and cool bartenders right now. My top three would be bar legend Mr Charles Schumann, who influenced the entire industry and founded Schumann’s Bar in Munich; Mr Erik Lorincz, Head Bartender of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, for winning the World Class in 2010 and his impressive career journey; and Mr Stanislav Vadrna for his holistic approach, mentoring and bringing the Japanese style of bartending to the whole world.
If you were a flavour, what flavour would you be and why?
Rhubarb, because I love the refreshing, tangy flavour and because spring is my favourite season.
What is your favourite drink to mix and why?
I actually don’t have any favourite drink to mix. Every drink on my docket is my favourite.
Who would you most like to mix a drink for? And what would you make them?
A Vesper Martini for Mr James Bond.
Why Ketel One?
For its family distilling heritage that has been going on for over 300 years and its high-quality wheat content.
Why did you enter World Class?
I want to be judged by the best, most respected people in our industry.