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Diageo ‘Show Your Spirit’ finalists chosen

Diageo has revealed the finalists of its “Show Your Spirit” competition – and has included an extra spot due to the strength of the entrants, writes Chris Cox.

Diageo's Reserve portfolio
Diageo’s Reserve portfolio

Initially, the competition for bartenders in Western Europe to co-create a new spirit or liquor was due to feature four finalists – three chosen by judges and a wildcard entry voted for by the public.

However, the large number of “high quality ideas” led the panel of judges, which included Salvatore Calabrese and Noel de Munck, to decide to send through four entrants to the final “Boot Camp” stage, and the public will now vote for a fifth.

Those making it through from the 23-person shortlist are:

  • Atalay Aktas (Germany) for a pink grapefruit liquor called “PomBelle”;
  • Dee Davies (Great Britain) with “Jin” – an idea for a spicy, Sake-based concoction containing ginger and lemongrass;
  • Fjalar Goud (Netherlands) whose “Cooper” will be a spiced vintage jenever with malt wine and a unique, experimental ageing process;
  • Naomi Mason (Great Britain) who would like to create an English whisky blended with vanilla and blackberry juice, entitled “Ripley Forge”.

Judge Salvatore Calabrese said: “Boot Camp will bring the finalists’ brilliant product ideas to life. I will be looking for uniqueness, a product that will have strong stand out on the back bar and one that inspires me to add it to my cocktail list.”

The fifth finalist will now be selected from the 19 bartenders remaining on the shortlist and will join the other four at Diageo’s Global Technical Innovation Centre, where they will spend four days developing their drinks before presenting their final results to the judges on 24 May.

Syl Saller, competition judge and global innovation director at Diageo and said: “Show Your Spirit was launched to celebrate the creativity, passion and talent of bartenders, and these finalists have proved they have exactly that with innovative and exciting ideas. I’m looking for the winning idea to not only be unique and appealing to bartenders and consumers, but to have scaled – the potential to be a global success.”

Voting for the final spot takes place at and is open until 21 April 2013.

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