Jesse Hedberg Heading to Vegas for Most Inspired Bartender Competition

Top finisher Hedberg earned a trip to Las Vegas Sept. 9-12 to compete alongside fifty-one of the country’s top mixologists for a chance at the title of “USBG Nation’s Most Inspired Bartender.”

On Tuesday night, Gracie’s hosted the regional finals for the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s (USBG) “Most Inspired Bartender” competition. The event was sponsored by Bombay Sapphire gin and GQ magazine, and local bartenders from Rhode Island restaurants and bars were invited to compete by creating innovative cocktails that included Bombay Sapphire gin as the main ingredient. When I arrived, the top six competitors were already mixing up their drinks, and guests were invited to taste samples of each one before voting for their favorite by placing a clear crystal sapphire into an oversized martini glass that stood at each bartender’s station.

The mixologists included Bruce Livingston from Rocco’s, who created a drink called the Hazed + Infused which featured Bombay Sapphire gin, lavender and cucumber; Harrison Elkay from Rick’s Roadhouse, who created the Number 10, which combined gin, Dolin Blanc, red grapes and juniper berries; and Justin Erickson from Vanity, who created the London Belle, which included gin, mint, lemon juice, red bell pepper and clover honey. The third place finisher was Jason Kindness from Newport Restaurant Group who created the Bombay Breeze which used gin, saffron syrup, lime, cardamom pods, blueberries and cucumber; second place went to Laura Moore of the Boat House, who made the Bombay Fog, which included gin, Thai basil leaves, pineapple juice and curry simple syrup; and Jesse Hedberg from Fluke Wine, Bar and Kitchen earned first place with his Aurora Borealis cocktail which included gin, Midori, Chartreuse, Absinthe, lime, sweetened condensed milk, pineapple soda, sage, pineapple and an edible starburst.

Top finisher Hedberg earned a trip to Las Vegas Sept. 9-12 to compete alongside fifty-one of the country’s top mixologists for a chance at the title of “USBG Nation’s Most Inspired Bartender.” Hedberg says he based his bright greenish yellow drink off of the Northern Lights, but also the bright lights of Las Vegas. He said he went with a trippy green theme to mimic the neon signs along the strip, and chose ingredients that “make sense in the way they look, and make sense in the way they taste.”

Here are the recipes for the top three drinks:

Jesse Hedburg (winner) – Fluke, Newport

                Aurora Borealis

  • 1.5 ounce Bombay Sapphire
  • 2 dashes Absinthe
  • .5 ounce Green Chartreuse
  • .75 ounce Midori
  • pineapple soda
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • .5 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • Garnishes: pineapple, sage, edible starburst, cantaloupe           

Laura Moore – Boat House, Tiverton

                The Bombay Fog

  • 2 ounce Bombay Sapphire
  • 5 Thai basil leaves
  • .75 ounce pineapple juice
  • .25 ounce curry simple syrup

Jason Kindness (Fan Favorite Vote) Newport Restaurant Group

                Bombay Breeze

  •  2.5 ounce Bombay Sapphire
  • .75 ounce saffron syrup
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 2 halved cardamom pods
  • 2 bar spoons blueberries (diced)
  • 2  bar spoons cucumber (diced)