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  • Enrique Balestrini

A New King has been Crowned! Gianni's Group Bartender Competition.

Gianni's Group Bartenders Competition was a fantastic display of talent and production and here is all the story.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Danny, representing Daniel's Steak & Chop won the 1st place title.

It is a fact that a great bartender is key to the success of a restaurant. Gianni's Group knows this perfectly and for quite some time has been cultivating some of the most talented ones on the island. In an initiative to highlight these talented masters of their craft, they have put together a competition where 7 of them, representing each restaurant competed to achieve the throne of the 2023 champion.


Friday afternoon, the Piazza outside Giannis Restaurant was the place to be. Minute-by-minute attendees who have purchased their tickets and walk-ins arrived encountering around the fountain 7 stands, where each bartender prepared and served their crafted cocktail. Upon arrival, you were given a punch card with 8 circles, one for each stand including a food one. Then you were free to walk around, mingle and listen to the tunes played by Dj V. There were no rules, you decided the order to do the tasting.


I gotta say, the decor of each stand was outstanding, each corresponding to a theme, elements of each restaurant were present as well as touches of each bartender's personality. Once you've done your rounds, and tasted each cocktail, you had the opportunity to decide who you were voting for, each stand had a box to insert the golden ticket. It was very well put together.


Daniel's Steak and Chop.

Danny (Isn't it funny that a Danny represented Daniel's?) created a cocktail called Orale Aloe. It was based on Tequila, a smart move given the fact that this event happened on 5 de Mayo! A homemade cucumber mint soda, aloe, mint caviar (also made by him), and lime juice. It was phenomenal. You knew there was alcohol in there but the balance was so well accomplished that nothing was overpowering.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Danny holds the Orale Aloe.

Gianni's Ristorante Italiano.

John, the bartender representing Gianni's Ristorante came up with a floral and fruity cocktail. Vodka-based, the finest prickly pears, St. Germain liqueur, vanilla, dragonfruit, and lime juice. Then as a final touch, he sprayed a mix of cinnamon, star anise, and cloves, to top it all off with flower petals. Very delicate and elaborate. A very strong contender.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Sexy Sakura by John, from Gianni's Ristorante

Amore Mio Pizzeria Napolitana.

Definitely, Miss Congeniality, Catalina from Amore Mio won over everybody's hearts with her smile and contagious joy. Her cocktail was highly praised among the attendees. The Tropicalina, made with a mysterious Rum, was according to her the quintessential Daiquiri, a taste of the Caribbean. Kraken Rum, pineapple syrup, fresh lime juice, cloves, syrup... What's not to love?

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Catalina from Amore Mio

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Azia.

Jonathan decided to go outside the box with his creation. A sake-based cocktail definitely was a show to watch. The Eva Luna is inspired by a past love affair. A play with temperatures, textures and visuals.


Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Jonathan from Azia giving a show

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Eva Luna

The Beach Bar.

For sure one of the crowd favorites as well. This Kiwi-based refresher was called Anarquía. According to Juan, the creator, this is the one that will keep you coming back for more. And indeed was. I had probably 3 of them. Flor de Caña Rum, fresh kiwi, lime juice, blue Curaçao.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Anarquía

Azurro.

Fabiana, the contender representing Azurro stole some hearts that night with her smile. Her cocktail, Zacaquila, was also a very strong contender. Tequila reposado, Midori, creme de cassis, real guava syrup, fresh lime juice, pineapple juice, and for those that dared: Tabasco gel. I really enjoyed a spicy cocktail that night. Right on the spot.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Zacaquila from Fabiana. Azurro.

Dushi Bagels & Burgers

Alejandra from DB&B, proved she's the queen of branding with even a themed t-shirt! Her cocktail, La Señora was based on everyone's favorite vodka: Tito's. Midori, Elderflower liqueur, lime juice, pineapple syrup, blueberry syrup. Another delicate and balanced creation. La Señora wore a flower that night as you can see.

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

 

On the side of the Piazza, savory bites were being enjoyed. I tasted the spring rolls and samosas. The curry sauce was the best!


Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Once everything was said and done at the Piazza, we moved into Azia, where the bartenders had to present in front of a panel of judges their cocktails. But not only present, but they also have to make it right then and there, mic on, lights on, a full performance. For sure added to the adrenaline of the night, and I understand why! Bartenders are performers behind the bar, the ability to enchant a crowd has to be there. The show was crazy!

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

After the 7 bartenders performed, the judges went behind the curtains to deliberate and after a few minutes and a few more drinks (What a night!), the top three winners were announced!


3rd Place: Amore Mio with Catalina and The Tropicalina

2nd Place: Gianni's Ristorante with John and the Sexy Sakura

1st Place: Daniel's Steak & Chop with Danny and The Orale Aloe

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews

Gianni's Aruba Bartender Competition 2023 The Foode Life Aruba Restaurant Reviews
Danny. 1st place.

Danny won an all-expense paid trip to New Orleans for the "Tales of The Cocktail 2023" Conference, where he sure will get inspired to keep creating new fantastic concoctions! Congratulations Danny! you were truly great and I have to confess that you got my vote. From the get-go, I knew you were one of the top drinks of the night and it gave me so much joy to have seen you win.


Special thanks to Gianni's Group for the invite! Another epic event for the books!



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