Michael is mixing it with the best

Michael Young from The Vault, Banbridge, pictured at the third annual Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge on Monday 21st August, where he was crowned one of three winning Hennessy Connoisseurs.
Michael Young from The Vault, Banbridge, pictured at the third annual Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge on Monday 21st August, where he was crowned one of three winning Hennessy Connoisseurs.

Michael Young from The Vault, Banbridge, has mixed with the best to prove he is one of Northern Ireland’s top bartenders.

Despite having a broken arm, Michael wowed the judges with his signature cocktail, ‘Sweet Kiss’ at Monday night’s grand finale of the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge before being crowned one of three winners.

Michael’s creation was infused with apricot and vanilla.The addition of lime provided a smooth yet lingering sensation on the palette.

The Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge, established by drinks company, Dillon Bass in 2015, is widely considered one of the most highly coveted accolades in the NI bartending scene.

Nine finalists competed under the eagle eyes of an international judging panel. The finalists were assessed on their bartending knowledge, skill and flair in a live final in The Muddlers Club, Belfast.

Michael won the title alongside two Belfast based bartenders, Mark McConville from House of Zen, Belfast and Emer Kennedy from APOC, Belfast.

Speaking on behalf of the judges, Judge Aaron Wall, from the London Cocktail Club said: “We were blown away by the high standard, talent and energy of the finalists. It was a privilege to watch these nine incredible bartenders in action.

Our congratulations go to all of the finalists and particularly to Michael, Emer and Mark, whose talent, flair and energy won out on the night.”

The winners receive an impressive prize package, courtesy of Dillon Bass, which includes a VIP trip to Cognac to visit Maison Hennessy and Chateau Bagnolet, where the bartenders will receive one-on-one training, including a tasting with one of Hennessy’s tasting committee.

The winners will also have their drinks showcased on Hennessy’s digital platforms.