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UK's Rusty Cerven is Bols Bartending Champion

The Grand Finale of Bols Around the World 2013 took place this week at Escape nightclub in Amsterdam. The evening was the culmination of a six month competition, during which 21 bartenders were put through their paces and scrutinised for their skills, commercial and marketing insight, passion for bartending and overall ability to entertain. In the spectacular finale, a shortlist of 12 went head-to-head in a battle of creativity, skill, professionalism and presentation and in front of a 1,100-strong audience of bartenders and consumers and a panel of expert judges,

Rusty Cerven wowed judges with his stunning cocktail William’s Punch, a unique blend of lemon sherbet, rhubarb juice, Bols Parfait Amour, Bols Genever and champagne, topped with nutmeg and lemon peel.

As well as receiving the coveted accolade, Cerven was awarded an eight-day trip around the world to four cocktail cities of his choice, as well as a Platinum Bols Ambassadorship, which includes two all-expenses-paid trips to Amsterdam for intensive training.

Cerven said of his achievement: “I am overjoyed to have won the Bartending Championship and really looking forward to getting into the role and working closely with Bols. Winning the competition has been one of the best moments of my life and all the contestants have been amazing. It’s been like a family with everyone supporting each other and I wish them all the best of luck in the future.”

Head of the judging panel, Malika Saidi, head trainer at Bols Bartending Academy said: “The level of the competition gets higher every year with incredible talent taking part from all over the world. The competition this year was extremely close between the finalists but Rusty stood out with his amazing personality and creativity and his cocktail delivered the perfect combination of flavour and innovation.”

The seventh annual competition attracted the most extensive pool of innovative entries the contest has ever seen, in total almost 3,000 spanning of 66 countries.

Bols CEO Huub van Doorne said: “The Bols Bartending World Championship is now in its seventh year and continues to produce incredible creations from some of the most talented bartenders in the world. This year’s competition has been one of our most exciting yet, proving the bar scene is still dedicated to injecting innovation and energy into cocktail making. Each competitor worked extremely hard to get here and Rusty did a fantastic job using Bols Genever and Bols liqueurs to reflect his ability to create a truly outstanding cocktail.”

Alongside Cerven, the other 11 finalists have received a one-year Gold Bols Ambassadorship, including a trip to Amsterdam for intensive Bols Ambassador training and an honorary contract to represent Bols in their own home country across a range of seminars, trade shows and courses.

The 12 finalists were Rusty Cerven (UK), Ciro de Giorgio (The Netherlands), Mateusz Szuchnik (Poland), Jimmy Barrat (Dubai), Seongha Lee (South Korea), Tom Richter (USA), Gonzalo Cabado (Argentina), Michie Nishida (Japan), Leszek Stachura (Denmark), Alexandru Tudor (Romania), Luuk Gerritsen (Curacao). Awarded the title of Young Talent was Fanni Lajkó (Hungary), one of five Young Talent finalists selected by scouts from the Bols Bartending Academy from a pool of 500 bartenders aged 21 and under from across the globe.

Winning recipe: William’s Punch by Rusty Cerven

20ml home-made lemon sherbet*
20ml freshly pressed rhubarb juice
10ml Bols Parfait Amour
35ml Bols Genever
50ml Champagne

*Lemon sherbet: Grate skin of 12 lemons on a fine grater, add 200g caster sugar and muddle all together to release the oils from the zest. Add 600ml lemon juice, let it infuse for 15-20 minutes and then filter.

Pour all ingredients except for the champagne into a punch bowl. Add enough ice to chill it down. Top up with champagne and add top with grated nutmeg. Garnish with lemon peel and seasonal fruit.

Motivation behind cocktail:
This punch is named after King William of Orange, the person responsible for boosting the genever and gin culture in England. Punch is my favorite category and it is considered as the father of cocktails and plays an important role throughout history. ‘Punch’ means five in Hindu and William’s Punch contains five ingredients. I have created a traditional recipe of lemon sherbet, as was made in England in the 18th century by William Terrington, used Bols Genever as it is the spirit that caused a drinking revolution in our country, rhubarb – the most common ingredient in English cuisine, Bols Parfait Amour as a description of my love for the job I do, and finally champagne to make it festive. And this punch wouldn’t be complete without a sprinkling of nutmeg.

9 May 2013 - Felicity Murray