THE UK’s best bartender shows us how it’s done as he urges people to sign up to the annual Best Bloody Mary Competition.

James Fowler, from the Larder House in Southbourne, will be judging the contest at this year’s Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival, which runs in Bournemouth Square from Friday, June 20 until Sunday, June 29.

The competition, which was thought up by James four years ago, will be held from 6pm on Thursday, June 26, and some 20 local chefs and bartenders have already signed up to showcase their own versions of the classic drink.

James, who recently won the World Class UK Bartender of the Year, said: “Competition will be fierce this year, and literally anyone can win it.

“There are always some surprise ingredients; everything from sherry to crab stock. And Bloody Marys can be mixed, stirred, built or even thrown. So it’s a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate.”

  • To find out more about the festival highlights, and how to book, visit

Other highlights of this year’s ten day food and drink extravaganza include demonstrations by award-winning chefs, open-air cookery workshops, themed events, street food and farmers’ markets, all accompanied by live music. For more information, don’t miss our special Taste supplement on Saturday.