Last year, the Baldwin Bar's Ran Duan, Eater Boston's 2014 Bartender of the Year, took home the North American grand prize at the United States Bartenders' Guild's Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, which is presented annually by Bombay Sapphire. This year, Van Hongthong, also from the Baldwin Bar, which is located inside Sichuan Garden in Woburn, won the Boston round of the competition and will advance to the North American round in Las Vegas next month. His winning cocktail is called the "Southern Belle" and includes gin, cinnamon syrup, lemon, Apricot Giffard, mint, and egg white.
"I am truly honored to be recognized for my cocktail," said Hongthong via a press release, "especially after competing against some of the best bartenders in Boston, many of whom are peers that I respect and admire." His competitors last night were Sam Treadway and Melinda Maddox, both of Backbar, Sebastian Canas of Drink, Tenzin Conechok of Trade, and Melissa Filgerleski of The Bancroft.
As a breeding ground for fantastic bartenders (not to mention excellent food), the cozy Baldwin Bar has been attracting increasingly large crowds, and an expansion within the Sichuan Garden building is currently in the works. A second-floor ballroom will turn into a 45-seat lounge that will act as overflow for the bar and main dining room.