A BOURNEMOUTH restaurateur will be mixing it up with the best in the country, after winning a regional competition to find the UK’s best bartender.

James Fowler, 30, who runs The Larder House in Southbourne, beat seven other regional finalists in the World Class contest with his colourful Mediterranean-style cocktail.

He is now one step closer to the global finals, which will be held in an exotic overseas location which in the past has included India, Rio and Greece.

Over the next five months, contenders from the most esteemed bars around the world, will compete in local and regional heats, each aspiring to attain a coveted place at the World Class Global final.

The competition will see participants from more than 50 countries showcase their creations in front of some of the best names in the business.

James, who made it through to the final four in the national competition last year, which involved making cocktails on a BA flight to New York, has his sights set on the coveted title this year.

He said: “A good bartender needs to have passion and knowledge of his ingredients, an understanding of the flavours and which combinations work well.”

James is usually behind the scenes at his popular restaurant in Southbourne Grove, although he still enjoys working behind the bar.

n James Fowler’s winning cocktail was Copper Colours, based on mid-century Mediterranean mastery.

How to make it: 2 dash Butterfly Absinthe 20ml Pacharan 20ml Lepanto OV 40ml Ketel One Vodka Stir and serve in pre-chilled glass.

Garnish with Jamon Serrano slices and burned clementine wedges, drizzled with clementine-infused arbequina oil.