When The Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition called upon Ireland’s explorer bartenders to create the ultimate Opihr cocktail featuring local ingredients, the call was answered with aplomb! After skilful and stellar performances from each of the ten finalists at Dublin’s newly-opened Ukiyo bar, the winner was announced as industry legend Barney O’Kane from One Goose Entry in Belfast.

Speaking after the event, Barney was delighted with his achievement: “I’m completely overwhelmed to have won the Irish leg of the Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition! The calibre of the entrants was very high so I’m delighted to have come out on top.”

The Belfast bartender is now preparing to set sail on the adventure of a lifetime with Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin (pronounced “O-Peer”) in Istanbul where he’ll represent Ireland at the grand final of the international competition.  “Opihr is a gin I’ve always found immensely interesting; the taste and aroma always provoke a different response from each individual”, he said. “The competition brief to include local ingredients brought something special to the mix and it was fantastic to see what everyone came up with. I’m very excited for the next stage in Istanbul, it’s the perfect location! There are some top class judges so I hope I’m up to the challenge!”

Now a staple in the bartender calendar, 2018 is the fifth year of the competition, “There was an unprecedented number of entries from Ireland for this year’s Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition”, said Lisa Doyle, On-Trade Commercial Manager of Quintessential Brands Ireland, “the standard was truly world-class and we know Barney will take Istanbul by storm at the grand final.”

And so begins a journey that will see this talented young bartender set sail on the adventure of a lifetime to a grand final where East meets West in the transcontinental city of Istanbul.

The reaction to the competition is testament to the growth of Quintessential Brands Ireland, who continue to win fans across the country with their range of remarkable gins by Joanne Moore, one of the world’s first female master distillers. Joanne was Inspired by the Ancient Spice Route when creating Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin. Its hand-picked botanicals epitomise the exoticintensity of the Orient, with spicy Indonesian cubeb berries, Indian black pepper and Moroccan coriander. The botanicals are then infused with premium quality spirit in copper pot stills.Its versatility and flavour profile have seen Opihr garner a loyal following nationwide, and today, it is one the fastest-growing premium gins in the world.

Pictured is winner Barney O’Kane (centre) with judges Rafael Agapito and Kevin Hurley