Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and Bombay Sapphire Announce the 2024 Most Imaginative Bartender, Elise Hanson

Posted on: Apr. 17, 2024 | , , , | By: Callie Carlson

Elise Hanson takes home the prestigious title with her “The Happy Place Project” cocktail and earns a $20,000 creative grant for Higher Harvests

Bombay Sapphire and Tales of the Cocktail Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the 2024 Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) competition, Elise Hanson – Bar Manager at Bar Raval and the Founder & Executive Director of Higher Harvests, Toronto, Canada. Toasting its 15th year, the Most Imaginative Bartender competition celebrates creativity and ingenuity in the cocktail community and provides a platform for bartenders to embrace their originality and passion behind the bar. 

Developing over nine months, the 2024 Most Imaginative Bartender competition featured many stages of contest, including a rigorous application process; in-person semi-final and final competitions; an immersive research and development trip to the home of Bombay Sapphire in England; and close collaboration with industry mentors to develop a Canvas Challenge business plan and pitch. Elise’s journey culminated in taking home the top prize from the MIB Finals in Orlando, FL on April 10. 

As the winner of the MIB competition, Elise received a $20,000 grant which will fund her Canvas Challenge project, Higher Harvests. An initiative aimed at partnering with bars and restaurants in Toronto to turn their rooftops into gardens for growing fresh, organic produce, Higher Harvests green roof sustainability efforts include regulating urban temperatures, managing stormwater, supporting biodiversity and natural ecosystems for wildlife, and more. Additionally, amongst the many environmental advantages of green roofs, Higher Harvest customers will save money by accessing government subsidies and reducing supply costs and energy bills. 

“This competition has challenged me more than anything before in my entire life,” said Elise Hanson. “It’s pushed me to do something I had no idea I was even capable of, I am so hopeful for the impact that I think Higher Harvests can make. The future of our industry is very bright with this year’s group of competitors that I now call family, paving the way.” 

Most Imaginative Bartender + Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Most Imaginative Bartender is a celebration of what makes the drinks industry unique: the inspiring, talented people behind the bar. Bombay Sapphire and Tales of the Cocktail Foundation are thrilled to share this third year of partnership, featuring their joint enthusiasm for fostering creativity within the drinks industry through the Most Imaginative Bartender 2024. 

“Our shared goal with this program is that it encourages bartenders to think and dream as big as they can, and to follow their passions,” said TOTCF CEO Eileen Wayner. “Participating Bartenders are encouraged to connect with their mentors and fellow participants, and everyone is enriched in the process. The sense of community that came out of this experience was palpable and truly inspiring.”

“This year’s MIB competition hosted a wealth of talented and unique voices,” said Ryan Wainwright, North American Brand Ambassador for Bombay Gin. “For both Bombay Sapphire and TOTCF, MIB is an opportunity to help unleash the artistic and innovative potential of our diverse and creative industry. We have always said that everyone is creative; it is just about tapping into that creativity. For all of the 12 finalists, I know this journey was just that.”

To learn more, please follow along on the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation website, Instagram, X, and Facebook



Based on a 1761 recipe, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE gin is created by perfectly balancing a unique combination of 10 hand selected exotic botanicals from around the world. The design of the BOMBAY SAPPHIRE distillery at Laverstoke Mill has won a BREEAM award for sustainability and is the home of the unique Vapour Infusion process, where the natural flavours of the botanicals are skillfully captured, resulting in the fresh and vibrant taste with which BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is synonymous. BOMBAY SAPPHIRE is on a mission to be the world’s most sustainable international gin, with all 10 botanicals certified sustainably sourced. The BOMBAY SAPPHIRE brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.


Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events.


Bombay Sapphire Media Inquiries:

Ryan Wainwright, North American Brand Ambassador

[email protected] 

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Media Inquiries:Foxglove Communications
Gia Vecchio, [email protected]
Hunter Smith, [email protected]

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