Local Mixologist Will Head to Las Vegas in September to Vie for North American Crown

Recipe inspiration: “This is Seattle…simplicity has always been complex” – Nik Virrey (NAKA)


  • 2oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1oz Acid Fire Ginger Shrub
  • .25oz Bitter Matcha + Smoked Sea Salt Solution
  • 5oz Fresh Tomato Water

Last night in Seattle, the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), the leading organization of beverage service professionals, invited a selection of Seattle’s most promising bartending talent to compete in the regional finals of the ninth annual “Most Imaginative Bartender” competition, presented by BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin. After a series of challenging timed sessions, surprise twists and blind tastings, conducted by a panel of esteemed judges including BOMBAY SAPPHIRE North American Brand Ambassador Gary Hayward, Seattle’s Nik Virrey and his “NAKA NIWA” an innovative recipe made with Acid Fire Ginger Shrub and Fresh Tomato water, was recognized as the most creative cocktail in Seattle based on appearance, aroma, imagination and taste. Virrey’s winning libation will now advance him to the USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Finals in Las Vegas, to be held on September 2, 2015. There, he will share the stage with 28 of North America’s top bartenders for a chance at the title of “North America’s Most Imaginative Bartender,” and a special edition cover feature of GQ magazine’s “Men of the Year” December 2015 issue alongside his cocktail.

Seattle Winner of the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender Regional Competition, Nik Virrey (NAKA).“I am truly honored to be recognized for my cocktail,” said Virrey, “especially after competing against some of the best bartenders in Seattle many of whom are peers that I respect and admire. The USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin have always done an incredible job of spotlighting emerging bartenders and cultivating our craft. It’s thrilling to be a part of that legacy and I look forward to representing Los Angeles at the North American finals in Vegas!”

Ned Duggan, VP, Managing Director for BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin, the presenting sponsor of the annual search, adds, “Now in its ninth year, the USBG Most Imaginative Bartender competition has become a pillar within the industry. We are honored to be able to partner with the USBG in continuing to showcase exceptional bartending talent across North America. Our goal has always been to help lay the groundwork for the next generation of innovation and artistry within the bartending field and Nik Virrey is no exception to the extraordinary talent that this program has engaged over the years. Best of luck to Nik in Las Vegas!”

Seattle Winner of the Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender Regional Competition, Nik Virrey (NAKA) creating and serving his “NAKA NIWA” winning cocktail.This year, in appreciation of the public’s growing interest in mixology, each local event will, once again, feature a Consumer Cocktail Hour. Guests will be exclusively invited by USBG and BOMBAY SAPPHIRE to attend, sample and vote for their favorite cocktail among the contending bartenders. Their final votes will then determine a separate People’s Choice Winner of the competition.

For More information about the North American Most Imaginative Bartender competition, please visit www.mostimaginativebartender.com.

content provided by USBG

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