A BAR manager representing west Dorset is in the running to win a prestigious cocktail competition.

Thomas Hay-Owens, bartender at the Bull Hotel’s Venner Bar in Bridport, has been chosen as a ‘wildcard’ to compete against four others for a sixth place in the final of the No.3 Gin Unlock the Taste UK Cocktail Tournament in May.

No.3 Gin’s - which is produced to a recipe of Berry Bros and Rudd, London’s oldest wine and spirit merchant - competition saw 12 of the UK’s best bartenders in each region battle it out to create a modern twist on an iconic 20th century cocktail.

Tom’s wildcard cocktail was called ‘Half-Time’, which combined acid-adjusted orange juice, cacao and sustainable vermouth with No.3 Gin.

He will now spend a night in London and attend an exclusive reception the evening before the final. Here Tom, along with four others, will present an aperitif drink to compete for one remaining place, bringing the total number of challengers at the final to six - symbolic of the six botanicals comprising No.3 iteslf.

have to compete against five other runners-up to secure the sixth place in the final the evening beforehand.

The overall winner of the three-part competition will not only be jetting off to Hong Kong with £200 spending money but will also have the opportunity to take on a much sought-after guest shift as one of the world’s top 50 bars.

Tom said: “To be part of anything to do with Berry Bros and Rudd is remarkable, never mind being a wildcard in the national final of the No.3 Gin Unlock Taste UK Cocktail Tournament.

“The calibre of bartender that have entered this competition, past and present, are unbelievable and right now I have everything crossed that my wildcard drink will get me through to that grand final the next day.

“Regardless of the result though, it has been a real pleasure to be part of such a prestigious competition and to work with such a great product like No.3 London Dry Gin.”

At the final, the six bartenders will be put through their paces by a panel of esteemed judges, including brand ambassador Richard Gillam.

Mr Gillam said: “We were absolutely thrilled with the level of creativity, skill and passion that this year’s challengers brought to the regional heats of the No.3 national cocktail tournament.

“Each concoction is a testament to the innovative, magnetic cocktail scene that we have here in the UK and we can’t wait to see how the contestants make use of No.3’s versatility to take the competition to the next level in the final rounds - bring it on.”