A HIGH-flying cocktail shaker from Bournemouth was toasted by actress Anna Friel before being crowned the UK’s best bartender at the weekend.

James Fowler, who plies his trade at the Larder House in Southbourne, was crowned the world class UK bartender of the year 2014 on Sunday following an intense week of competition in Hong Kong.

For the last ten months contenders from bars around the world have competed in regional heats, each aiming to win a coveted place at the world class UK final.

James will now compete in the world finals next month and his winning cocktail will be available for first class passengers travelling with British Airways.

Ms Friel, best known for starring in Brookside and hit US comedy Pushing Daisies, waved the finalists off after being personally served by James.

“I’m very much looking forward to sampling the winner’s cocktail next time I fly with British Airways,” she said.

As winner, James will now go on to represent his country at the glitzy event, which will host challenges at several luxury locations across Scotland and London.

James said he was ‘overwhelmed’ to have been crowned the winner and is looking forward to competing with rival bartenders from more than 50 countries.

“It’s an honour to have been on this journey with so many talented bartenders,” he added.

“The unique challenges we faced throughout the final have tested our creativity, knowledge and skill and really pushed us to our limits.

“I can’t wait to compete against the world’s best bartenders on home turf.”