Sheffield bartender crowned UK champion

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The impressive skills of a Sheffield bartender who was crowned cocktail king in a national competition can now been seen on The Star’s website.

Russ Ward, from Thorpe Hesley, shot to the top of the UK Grand Final of the 2014 TGI Fridays UK Bartender Championship after wowing judges with his incredible cocktail shaking skills, signature moves and flawless presentation.

Russ Ward, 32, has won the UK Grand Final of the 2014 TGI Fridays UK Bartender Championship

Russ Ward, 32, has won the UK Grand Final of the 2014 TGI Fridays UK Bartender Championship

The confident 32-year-old, who was representing the Sheffield TGI restaurant, beat off fierce competition from more than 300 of the country’s finest bartenders to be crowned the UK’s best for a third time in a row.

During the final Russ had to demonstrate his ability to free-pour perfect measures every time. He also had to know every single one of the 700-plus cocktails available at TGI Fridays and make a selection of 30 to perfection.

In our video Russ talks about his bartender background, what he enjoys about his job and his journey to the final.

He also demonstrates his award-winning cocktail making skills while knocking up a rum-based West Indies Yellow Bird, which includes impressive shaking, flipping and balancing moves.

Russ will now go on to represent the UK in the TGI Fridays World Bartender Championships, taking place in the US early next year, where he will battle it out against 8,000 bartenders from 60 countries across the globe.

Russ said: “I need to get practising for the world final at the start of 2015.

“I now have the opportunity to lay to rest the ghosts from last year at the world championships - where I lost out by just one second in the speed test section of the competition!”