Stirred but not shaken

Jasper Bar’s Elad Baruch earns the title of Israel World Class Bartender of 2016.

An old-fashioned cocktail. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An old-fashioned cocktail.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
An air of excitement and anticipation rippled through Tel Aviv’s Norman Hotel on June 29 as eight of Israel’s most accomplished cocktail bartenders waited to find out which of them would be crowned Israel World Class Bartender of 2016 and represent Israel at the Diageo Reserve’s World Class global final in Miami in September.
In the end it was Elad Baruch, head bartender at Tel Aviv’s Jasper Bar, who proved to have the winning formula.
“Participating in the World Class competition was a great experience, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Right now the goal in front of me is competing in Miami, where I will work as hard as I can to win and represent Israel with respect,” said Baruch to an enthusiastic crowd.
The judges of the Israeli leg of the competition were Erik Lorincz, head bartender at the American Bar at the Savoy, London, who was the winner of World Class Bartender of 2010; and Greek bartender Aristotelis Papadopoulos, who was the first winner of World Class in 2009.
According to Lorincz, who was the drinks consultant on the James Bond film Skyfall, World Class is the “Olympic Games, Oscars and Master Chef of cocktail competitions all rolled into one.”
The eight local competitors, who included Roscoe Raz from the popular Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar in Tel Aviv and renowned mixologist Yuval Sofer, were put through a series of rigorous challenges over two days.
Each round was judged according to tough criteria that covered artistry, innovation, balance, technique and visual esthetic.
On the first day, each competitor was given NIS 100 to create an outof- the-box cocktail derived from and inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients they purchased at the Sarona Market. Next, the stalwart specialists were judged on how many well-balanced cocktails they could create in eight minutes or less in Cocktails against the Clock.
On the following day, they were put to the blind tasting test. The competitors were presented with 15 cocktails, out of which they had to distinguish four specific ones. Extremely difficult. However, all the bartenders managed to score a four out of four on this challenge, which, according to the judges, was amazing! Finally, in the Welcome to Miami competition, the bartenders pulled out all the stops in their effort to impress the judges by creating their own signature cocktail.