Sheffield barman in mix for top cocktail title

Competition finalist Russ Ward, from Sheffield.
Competition finalist Russ Ward, from Sheffield.
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HIGH-FLYING bar tender Russell Ward is off to the United States – to show them how to serve cocktails Sheffield-style.

Russell, who works at TGI Friday’s, on Sheffield Road, Meadowhall, is heading Stateside to compete in the international restaurant chain’s world bartender championships.

Next month, he will battle it out over two days against the best bartenders in the world in Dallas, Texas.

He secured his place in the final after leaving his cocktail making colleagues shaken and stirred at the restaurant’s UK bartender championships in September.

Since then, he has been busy practicing more than four hours each and every day to perfect his routine.

Russell also attended a four -day ‘boot camp’ at the start of the year in the States to prepare for what he describes as the ‘biggest moment’ in his bartending career.

He said: “It’s great to have reached the world finals and it’s a real achievement to be in the global top 10.

“It’s been four years since the UK last held the top title and I want to bring the crown home to Sheffield this year.

“My training has been quite gruelling over the last few months.

“But, after practising every day, I am confident that I’m as ready as I can be.

“At the training camp I had the opportunity to meet some of the competition and the standard is incredibly high.

“I think it will be close and come down to who holds their nerve and performs best over the two days.

“We’ve seen a few of each other’s moves, but I have kept my signature move – where I catch a cherry on a cocktail stick I’m holding with my teeth – under wraps as it’s my secret weapon.”