One of Brisbane’s best riverfront restaurants, Byblos Bar, has fought its way to top with one of their bartenders making the finals of the Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch competition.

Brisbane will be represented more times than any other capital city in the finals of the Australia and New Zealand-wide cocktail competition.

Four of the 11 finalists hail from the Sunshine State – double the number from Sydney and Melbourne and four times that of Perth, Adelaide and Wellington.

The competition challenges bartenders to create a hot punch and bring to life the ritual of creating and sharing their concoctions.

Contenders had to submit a name for their punch along with the ingredients, method, photo and video.

Finalist Adam Meredith from Byblos Bar at Hamilton’s premier waterfront retail and dining precinct Portside Wharf, whose creation is entitled ‘Hipsters Ruin Everything’, combined Hendrick’s Gin with Ruby Port, beetroot, mango, lemon, hibiscus, rose tea, ginger and coriander to create his winning concoction.

“We recently bought a new juicer for behind the bar at Byblos so I have been experimenting and juicing everything in sight, including beetroot and ginger, so I knew that combination was a good starting point,” he said.

“Once I had the ginger, beetroot and coriander as my flavour profile, I used the other ingredients to balance the drink.  Those ingredients were chosen as the result of trial and error.

“My punch could be compared to a Bloody Mary with beetroot instead of tomato – it’s very earthy and savoury with a small amount of acidity, balanced out with the sweetness of the port and mango.”

Mr Meredith said finalists would fly to Vanuatu for four days to create another Hendricks Gin punch to determine the winner – this time it will be a cold drink instead of hot.

“While in Vanuatu, we will learn about native ingredients before using them to structure our new drink which we will present in the finals,” he said.

“The visit will take us off the beaten track and we will be visiting the native villages in the mountains, where we’ll discover the natural ingredients used by the people.”

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