Belfast Telegraph

Connor shakes them up as the UK's leading bartender

By Joanne Sweeney

He's the man who can make women swoon with delight and men very happy at the end of a hard day's work.

Meet Connor Bloomfield - the cocktail-making king who has been voted the UK's favourite bartender.

The Co Tyrone man received the most votes in an online competition organised by American rum brand Sailor Jerry.

His customers at Liverpool's Aloha Bar were so impressed by his bartending expertise and friendly service that they voted him the Nation's Favourite Bartender out of choice of 44 nominees from bars and clubS around the UK.

"I'm delighted to have been voted the nation's favourite bartender as what we do is so much more than being able to make a great cocktail," said the 24-year-old.

"It's about giving great, friendly customer service, knowing your drinks and flavours, your customers' taste and being able to tell your customers about the history of the cocktail or the drink."

The competition was inspired by market research conducted by the brand with 1,000 bartenders and customers which showed that over half of bartenders felt under-appreciated and only 1% of customers ever tipped.

As over 70% of those polled felt that good service was required to make a great bartender, the brand created the competition to show some appreciation to the skill as well as campaigning for an annual Bartender Appreciation Day.

Originally from Fivemiletown, Connor has been living in Liverpool for the past seven years after moving there as a student. He started his career behind the bar working in pubs and restaurants at home, such as the Valley Hotel.

Despite graduating with a degree in fine art, he now believes that his professional future lies in cocktail making and dreams of running his own bar one day.

He added: "Everything I know about cocktails I've learnt at Aloha, so I'm really thankful to them. Its passion for cocktails and mixing delicious drinks has now made me realise that this is the business for me. One day I would like to open my own bar with a few friends.

"It's a good business to be in, too, as cocktails are so popular in the UK, we are open from 4pm to 3am or 4am every day. Everyone likes to try a new drink, particularly women when they are out for a night." Connor also recently won a major cocktail making competition organised by Jameson Whiskey with his Glorious John concoction - named after the Irish whiskey's creator - which he mixed with Irish honey.

Connor's latest win has netted him a trip of a lifetime next year to Austin, Texas, to the Sailor Jerry House where the famous rum inspired by the renowned tattoo artist and former sailor is made.

The Gerry

Two shots of Sailor Jerry rum; single measures each of orange juice, pineapple juice and lime juice; shaken with a dash of passionfruit syrup to finish

Connor's Glorious John cocktail

Irish honey; 70mls of Jameson whiskey; splash of bitters; half measure of vermouth; stirred and served straight up, no ice

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