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Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Published at 16:21 GMT 17:21 UK

UK: Wales

Guy serves up a winner

Ace barman Guy Minshall had to learn 600 recipes

A barman from north Wales has been crowned the World Champion Bartender in a contest run by a restaurant chain.

Guy Minshall, 28, beat off competition from USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America to win the award.

Guy picked up his prize of $3,000, a trophy and a 24-carat gold bottle opener in the world finals held at Dallas in Texas.

Eight finalists worked their way through local, regional, divisional and national competitions to earn their places behind the championship bar in the competition run by the TGI Fridays chain.

[ image: Tom Cruise - starred in the hit film Cocktail]
Tom Cruise - starred in the hit film Cocktail
They also endured written tests over three days on ingredients, alcohol service guidelines and current events.

Around 300 customers and employees of the Dallas-based chain crowded into a Friday's in Plano to see the finale of the competition and some of the finesse made famous by Tom Cruise in the movie "Cocktail."

The finalists' tossing routines - or "bar-obics" - were choreographed to music and ranged from conservative flips of well bottles to mesmerizing "rolls" of the odd-shaped Chambord bottle down an arm.

Guy had to memorise 600 different cocktails and practised throwing bottles in his bedroom to win the event.

"You need to know lots of stuff," Guy told BBC Wales, "But also food, liquor knowledge, trivia of liquor and history of the Friday's restaurants."

Hero's welcome

And he returned to a hero's welcome to the TGI Friday's restaurant where works in Sale, Cheshire.

"I walked into work and there were 50 people there and a big banner outside which was lovely," he said.

Friday's officials said the competition, held for at least a decade, encouraged their bartenders to come up with creative, flashy ways to entertain customers and serve tasty drinks - even if it means a few broken bottles behind the bar.

It also benefits the Children's Miracle Network.

The company has raised more than $500,000 over the past two years for the charity through auctions held between bartender performances, said spokesman Stewart Slocum.

The bartenders said the competition boosted morale because it gave them a chance to be recognized for their skills.

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