Cape Town - Camps Bay bartender Johnny Bezuidenhout impressed judges with his apple crumble cocktail and his audience with his tattooed body to take the title of Cosmopolitan’s Hottest Bartender.
Held on Thursday March 14 at Shimmy’s Beach Club near the Waterfront, the competition pitted 10 finalists against each other for a cash prize of R20 000.
Bezuidenhout, 25, a mixed-martial arts enthusiast who works at Cafe Caprice, prepared his cocktail before stepping out from behind the preparation table – amid hordes of screaming women – to play with the audience.
He shook the drink, passed it to a woman in the audience and asked her to shake it and then kiss the shaker.
When he was announced the winner, he ripped off his vest and jumped into the crowd, who lifted him above their heads.
Speaking to Weekend Argus on Friday, Bezuidenhout said: “In South Africa, we don’t see how serious bartending is. In other countries, you can make a decent living off this.”
Speaking about his preparations for the competition, Bezuidenhout said he and his friends put together a strategy on the “X-factor” needed to take the title.
“They said I should take my shirt off,” he admitted.
Within a few minutes of being on stage, the crowd started screaming: “Take it off.”
And Bezuidenhout didn’t hesitate, despite the pressure of the three-minute time limit he had to produce a winning cocktail and entertain the crowd at the same time.
He described the apple crumble cocktail as a dessert drink. It contained Collison’s White Gold Brandy, pressed apple juice, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and cinnamon-infused sugar syrup. Tennis biscuits were used to garnish the rim of the glass.
This impressed the judges enough to see him through to the last round, in which he competed against the female finalist, Imaan MacQuena of Jade Lounge in Green Point.
The two were challenged to make a Collison’s cosmopolitan – a variation of the regular cocktail but with the brandy sponsor’s spirit instead of vodka.
He borrowed a lighter from a friend on the night for his special extra little touch on the drink – he singed orange zest over the rim of the martini glass, for a different aftertaste.
The bartender of three and a half years is playing it conservative with his winnings, despite his liberal moves on stage.
“My mom says I should save everything.” - Weekend Argus