England’s first bartender to receive the prestigious Young Mixologist England title is from Preston. Niamh Preedy, bartender at Michelin Starred restaurant Northcote, Langho, has been awarded the first ever Young Mixologist England title, and will go on to represent England in the world finals in Monaco this November.
The young hospitality professional, who lives in Preston and attended Birmingham University, saw off competition from 25 of England’s top mixologists under the age of 28. She was pronounced winner at a prestigious awards ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham.
The Young Chef Young Waiter competition has been open to up-and-coming hospitality professionals for over 40 years, but this was the first year it was extended to mixology.
Having only entered for ‘experience’ after encouragement from her mentor, renowned multi-award-winning mixologist Georgi Petrov (head bartender at Northcote), Niamh, age 22, expressed her surprise at being chosen for the top spot.
She said: “It felt very surreal to win the inaugural Young Mixologist England competition,” she said. “It is still sinking in now. I entered the competition purely for the experience, I never expected to actually come away and win it!”
The next phase of the competition sees her join forces with the winners of Young Waiter England 2023 and the Young Chef England 2023 to represent Team England at the world finals in November.
“The next competition stage is in Monaco,” Niamh said. “The preparation will involve some mentoring from the judges of the competition as well as meeting up with the other winners to share ideas and prepare. Although I am very nervous, I am going purely for the experience and to continue meeting and networking with industry professionals, but this time with people from all over the world, which is still very crazy to get my head around!”
The judging process involved each competitor researching and creating their own unique cocktail recipe, which can take months to develop. Niamh’s creation was called Candy Floss; it incorporated fresh seasonal fruits and utilised a range of complicated technical skills, which she has learnt during her training at Northcote.
Niamh explained more about the development of her drink. She said: “I was inspired by the season, being in summer, and what I would like to drink during this period, which was something long, fruity and refreshing! This also meant I could use seasonal fruit in the recipe, for example fresh raspberries, which are in abundance at this time of year.”