UK’s best Bloody Mary hails from Leeds

A bartender from Banyan Leeds, the bar/restaurant owned by Arc Inspirations, has won this year’s Bloody Mary Challenge, after competing in a live competition at yesterday’s National Breakfast and Brunch Awards.

A bartender from Banyan Leeds, the bar/restaurant owned by Arc Inspirations, has won this year’s Bloody Mary Challenge, after competing in a live competition at yesterday’s National Breakfast and Brunch Awards.

Danny Laycock, who was up against 10 other bartenders from across the UK, wowed the judges with his creation ‘The Banyan Mary’, which features Grey Goose vodka, strawberry-infused Martini Reserva, Ancho Reyes chilli liqueur, Tio Pepe Fino sherry, an avocado verdita, passata spice mix, bacon syrup and celery foam. 

“I’m still a little bit shocked,” says Laycock. “It’s amazing to have won – there are some great competitors at the Bloody Mary Challenge, so it’s incredible to get the win. I tried to use a lot of different ingredients, which were based on breakfasts – avocado, bacon, etc. Then top it off with a celery foam. It was just a little bit different to what everyone else did. It’s been a great day down in London, that’s for sure.”

As well as winning the coveted title, Laycock also won himself a trip to Avery Island in Louisiana, home of Tabasco, the headline sponsor of the Bloody Mary Challenge. The competition was also sponsored by Pago Tomato and Broken Clock Vodka.

During the final, the 11 bartenders had to prepare their Bloody Marys in front of a live audience and a selection of industry judges, who scored each drink based on a set criteria. It was to be Laycock’s unique combination of the base drink and a celery foam topping that took his tipple to the top of the pile.

“The flexibility of the Bloody Mary is what makes this competition so intriguing,” says Tristan O’Hana, editor of Pub & Bar magazine and head judge of the competition. “The creativity and dexterity of these skilled bartenders is incredible to behold, particularly when they’re competing against the clock. Danny’s Banyan Mary looks a little ‘out there’, given the celery foam topping, but the balance of ingredients and the overall flavours led the judges to a unanimous decision. Give the Banyan Mary a try next time you’re in Leeds!”

The 2020 Bloody Mary Challenge finalists

  • Blixen – Santa Maria
  • The Athenaeum Hotel – The Athenaeum Bloody Mary
  • Aether UK – Scoop-Diddy-Soup
  • The Alchemist – Morning Medicine
  • Manahatta – The Manahatta Bloody Mary
  • Darwin & Wallace – Darwin & Wallace Bloody Mary
  • Banyan Leeds – Banyan Mary
  • Mandrake Hotel – Love-Passion-Pepper
  • Brother Marcus – The Brother Mary
  • The White Horse, Chilgrove – The White Horse Dirty Mary
  • Gaucho – The Gaucho Bloody Mary