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The wonderful meditteranean terroir, the high level of the 9 competitors, the boat trip to Formentera island, a lost suitcase and Thanasis Kouzioka’s victory, were this year’s Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations competition highlights.

 the view over Balearic sea

I had just returned from my vacation in the wonderful Greek island of order accutane online in USA, which meant that I was supercharged and relaxed. However I was amazed when the people of VANTGUARD (mother company of Gin Mare) and Sky Spirits (Greek importers) suggested me as one of the four judges in the world final competition of Mediterranean Inspirations 2014. A few hours after I unpacked the vacation’s suitcase, I was on a plane over the Balearic Islands.

Din Mare eivissa

«Eivissa» is the official Catalan name of the island

Soon, I was all alone in the quiet airport ibiza. Thanassis Kouziokas, winner of the final Greek Mediterranean Inspirations, had landed several hours earlier. Shortly thereafter, I was informed that his suitcase with the dozens homemade ingredients and his precious barware, had never reached the airport along with him. Half an hour later, I left my own baggage to the hotel, which was located in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Gin Mare

the stunningly landscaped hotel area outside the room

Then I met Thanasis Kouziokas, who could not believe that he was flirting with the idea of returning to Greece without having the opportunity to compete. The next day, we moved early in Villa Mare, where we could enjoy the breathtaking view of the island. Most contestants had already begun preparing themselves, while Kouziokas was waiting for the good news of his baggage arrival.

Villa Mare

the amazing view from Villa Mare

Meanwhile the competition had already begun. The nine contestants were: Russell Downie from the UK, Filippo Sisti from Italy, Ciro Adriano de Georgio representing the Netherlands, Andre Filipe Do Reis from Portugal, Cordula Langer from Germany, Angel Ramón Tovar from Mexico, Thanasis Kouziokas from Greece, Nico Colic from Switzerland and Anna Martinez from Spain. The judging panel – which comprised Jorge Balbontin, Gin Mare brand development manager, Marc Alvarez, head bartender of 41 Degrees in Barcelona, mixologist Oscar Quadrarini and Spyros Patsialos myself, scored on taste, appearance, aroma, elegance, brand inspiration and on the contestants’ presentation and craftmanship.

Gin Mare Russel
Russell Downie - UK

Gin Mare Anna
Anna Martinez - Spain

Gin Mare Filippo Sisti

Filippo Sisti - Italy

Gin Mare Ciro
Ciro Adriano de Georgio - Holland

Gin Mare Andre
Andre Filipe Do Reis - Portugal

Gin Mare Cordula
Cordula Langer - Germany

Gin Mare Angel
Angel Ramón Tovar - Mexico

Gin Mare Nico
Nico Colic - Switzerland

Gin Mare Thanasis Kouziokas
Thanasis Kouziokas - Greece

The 9 finalists had to make three signature cocktails: a Mediterranean Gin & Tonic, a Bloody Mary based on Gin Mare, and most importantly: the cocktail Mare Nostrum which incorporates the lifestyle, gastronomy and terroir of Mediterranean. What is worth noting is that all participants had at least one striking idea in some of their creations that impressed  the majority of the four-member jury. Finally, at the end of the day, the three winners were announced. Apart from the prize money they will represent Gin Mare as ambassadors in promotional events, which is a big deal and a great asset for each one of them.

Gin Mare winners

The 3 winners of Gin Mare Mediterranean Inspirations 2014

The big winner of the Mediterranean Inspirations 2014 was Thanasis Kouziokas from Groove Cocktail bar in Volos. Thanasis earned the prize of 4,500 € and will participate as ambassador of Gin Mare in 5 events that will take place in various parts of the world. The second place was awarded  to Swiss Nico Colic, while third place was awarded to the Spanish bartender Anna Martinez.
After his victory, Thanasis Kouziokas said to Spirit Bussiness magazine: “Yesterday I was incredibly disappointed because I coud not know if I would find my suitcase, but today I’m so happy! This is 15 years of hard work paying off and proves you should never stop or give up on what you love”.

Gin Mare Ibiza

Ibiza, in the old town's centre

The following day of the competition started with an amazing boat trip surprise: We started from the port of the old city and sailed to Formentera, a small Mediterranean aquatic paradise, the little brother island of Ibiza. Below, there are some pictures that can give you a small taste of what it looked like. Enjoy!

Spyros Patsialos





Gin Mare ibiza

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