Carl Brown From Dishoom Wins Vintage To Visionary Cocktail Competition

V2V Carl Brown and Mother's Fix

Carl Brown, from Dishoom has won the Vintage to Visionary competition, a collaboration between The Bitter Truth ™ – Bitters & Liqueurs and Hayman Distillers, the English gin distiller whose family have been making gin since 1863.  The winning recipes are listed below.

The brief laid down by the team at Love Drinks, the UK distributor of the two companies and organiser of the competition, was simple– create two cocktails – one Vintage and one Visionary – using any of the products in the range.

Eight bartenders headed down to the Queen of Hoxton to compete for the £1000 prize but Carl, with his two drinks, the Senior Service Julep and Mother’s Fix, which used a homemade tangerine shrub, which was smoked and then aged, edged the judges’ decisions. 

The judges included Alexander Hauck, Co-Founder of The Bitter Truth ™ – Bitters & Liqueurs; James Hayman, Managing Director of Hayman’s and Clinton Cawood from Imbibe.

Carl Brown and Senior Service Julep
Carl Brown and Senior Service Julep

The competition was extremely close. So much so that the judges’ awarded two joint second places to Gabor Onufer from Claridges and Ami St Claire from Sohe in Newcastle. Both contestants were praised on their drinks making skills and innovative take on the brief.  Ami for her homemade cocktail candy floss and gin soaked marshmallows and Gabor for his excellently made Voyager which used Claret and was mixed in a crystal wine decanter.

Speaking about the competition, Carl Brown, whose job title Daru-wallah, literally translates into the ‘drinks guy’, said: “We use both Hayman’s gins and the Bitter Truth in our bars so for me, this was a competition that I wanted to enter and win. Making great drinks was just one element of the competition; I really enjoyed researching the two companies.  Hayman’s because of their history and heritage and The Bitter Truth because of their passion and commitment to making cocktail ingredients in order to recreate drinks that might have been lost forever were it not for them.  What really shone out for me was the commitment from both companies to using the best quality ingredients which is why I wanted to create excellent drinks for the judging panel to enjoy.”

The other competitors in the competition include; Niall McGloin from Smokestack in Leeds; Michael Mann from City of London Distillery; Tom De Santis from Electrik in Manchester; Amir Javaid from Epernay in Manchester and Lucy Horncastle from NOLA.

The recipes for Carl’s drinks are as follows:

VINTAGE  – Senior Service Julep

Glass: Indian Copper Julep Cup

Garnish: Bushel of mint and twist of grapefruit

Method: Churn ingredients with crushed ice, then cap with more ice

40ml Hayman’s Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin

20ml The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur

15ml English honey syrup (1:1)

3 dashes The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

VISIONARY  – Mother’s Fix

Glass: Rocks

Garnish: Candied orange peel

Method: Tap off shrub from barrel over chipped ice. Add gin, bitters and soda. Stir.

100ml shrub*

30ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

4 dashes The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters

Dash of soda


Method: Combine ingredients with hickory smoke in barrel and leave for one week.

300ml tangerine juice

150ml lemon juice

25ml fresh ginger juice

100ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

The Bitter Truth Range of Bitter and Liqueurs and Hayman’s Gins are distributed in the UK by Love Drinks.

Hard Rock Cafe And #NationalBurgerDay

Hard Rock Cafe

I’ve been to the Manchester branch of Hard Rock Cafe a fair few times over the years, but it had been a while since my last visit. Time to duly rectify this with a burger hit on #NationalBurgerDay of all days!

Although the rise in smaller independents that cover Manchester, Hard Rock have always had a good selection of burgers available including the likes of the Mushroom & Swiss, which combines sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese, and the Fiesta which heavies on the Mexican flavours of roasted jalapeño salsa, melted Jack cheese, freshly made guacamole and pico de gallo. However Hard Rock were vying away from the menu a little on #NationalBurgerDay in that all burger loving customers could create their very own with choice from a great selection of toppings!

Hard Rock CafeIn my element of course, the choices of sauces were vast and included the likes of tangy, heavy metal, texan, bbq, ranch, blue cheese, red pepper, butternut squash and zucchini. To go with your choice, bacon, cheddar cheese, Jack cheese, Swiss cheese, onion frazzles and caramelised onions were amongst the options to fill out your piping hot meal. My choices turned to be Sloppy-Joe (sweet chili pepper seasoning), American and Jack cheeses along with bbq sauce, complete with a double burger and side of fries and blue cheese and horseradish mayonnaise.

Considering I’ve never had the pleasure of the American classic they call Sloppy-Joe, I gambled with a great pay-off as it really enhanced the burger flavours, with the two cheeses mixed well to round the experience off. I love bbq sauce, so that added richness to it all and gave me something to mop the fries with.

Shockingly, no dessert for me though. My creation left me struggling to even attempt to look at the menu, which was by no means a bad thing. Good food had been consumed and it did what all food should do; filled me up!

I’m sure Hard Rock Cafe will be offering similar deals in the future when it comes to creating your own burger, but if you pop in on a day that they are not, you won’t be lacking options on the menu. The previously mentioned are only a few from the menu that also boasts Hickory BBQ Bacon and Cheese and the ever-changing Local Legendary, which offers flavours unique to Manchester!

Go in, order a burger, leave full and wanting to return quickly. #NationalBurgerDay or not, sometimes you can’t beat a more recognised figure.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Expand Your Mind, Stimulate Your Senses & Revive Your Spirit Of Curiosity

HENDRICK’S Carnival of Knowledge

For the first time ever, the delightfully diverting HENDRICK’S Carnival of Knowledge – a unique travelling parlour of enlightenment – will journey to the wild wilderness of Portmeirion, Wales for Festival No.6 (5th – 7th September) to bring intellectual sustenance and delightful diversions to all curiously minded individuals.

With the help of the Guerrilla Science collective, The Carnival will bring together a host of the nation’s most scientific scholars and erudite experts for two days of dynamic discoveries and titillating theories. This plethora of enlightening entertainments will encourage even the least inquisitive amongst us to once again revel in the curious and marvel at the mysteries of the mind.

HENDRICK’S Carnival of Knowledge
HENDRICK’S Carnival of Knowledge

Supporting this quest for palatal and scholarly stimulation, Hendrick’s Mobile Academy of Alchemical Meanderings (affectionately known to all as MA’AM) – a most unusual and luxurious travelling bar – will be on hand to provide a host of delightful Hendrick’s libations. 

On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September, this smörgåsbord of cognitive collaborations will include:    

·       Zombies I have known and loved:Famed for their obsession with brains zombies have long been part of the mainstream. Over a zombie-making workshop, Author Frank Swain takes us through the science of zombies, from dog heads brought back to life without their bodies to military interrogation techniques. Welcome to the weird and wonderful fringes of science.  Sunday 7th August, 3-4pm

·       The Power of Smell: Mice can undergo smell-induced abortions. Horses can tell how related they are to other horses by sniffing them. What about humans? Encounter the sensational power of smell with scientist Ed Bracey as he explores how our marvellous brains interpret scent, how we compare with other animals, and how smell actually works. Sunday 7th August, 1-2pm

·       Consciousness: Are you awake? Are you dreaming? How much of our world is a construction of our brain, a mere figment of our imagination? Join neuroscientist Anil Seth as he reveals what science can and cannot tell us about the mysteries of consciousness.  Saturday 6th August, 3-4pm

·       Hendrick’s Carnival of Knowledge Bar: Nourish both your mind and your taste buds in Hendrick’s Parlour Bar. Unusual characters, eye-opening wisdom and exquisite cocktails await the curiously-minded. Join us, be seated and enjoy luxuriant libations served to you by some of the world’s finest bartenders. Friday 5th – Sunday 7th August, from 10:00am–late.

HENDRICK’S CARNIVAL OF KNOWLEDGE will be located at Festival No.6, Portmeirion, Wales from 5th – 7th  September. 

For information on HENDRICK’S CARNIVAL OF KNOWLEDGE, or to purchase tickets visit: OR

Grey Goose Introduces VX: Vodka Exceptionelle

Grey Goose VX

GREY GOOSE®, The World’s Best Tasting vodka, announces the launch of an extraordinary new, ultra-premium expression of GREY GOOSE – GREY GOOSE VX. A spirit like no other, the liquid combines GREY GOOSE vodka with precious drops of cognac.

François Thibault, the creator of GREY GOOSE whose passion for crafting extraordinary spirits was fostered as a Maître De Chai (cellar master) in the Cognac region, has once again defied convention with the introduction of this spirit that draws on exceptional French craftsmanship and heritage, yet is truly innovative. GREY GOOSE VX, which stands for GREY GOOSE Vodka Exceptionelle, is masterfully created from drops of cognac grapes drawn exclusively from the Grande Champagne cru, regarded by many connoisseurs as the very finest of the six cru within the region.

“From its inception, GREY GOOSE has always pioneered new and exciting territories,” said Thibault. “In creating GREY GOOSE VX, I wanted to capture the aromatic notes of a precious cognac, bringing its delicate essence of orchard fruits, plum, apricot and the mild flavours of wild honey to the remarkable character of GREY GOOSE vodka.”

The rich, subtle taste of GREY GOOSE VX conveys a harmonious balance of white fruit blossom, honeysuckle and violet with hints of apricot and a long, lingering finish. The balance is subtle, harmonious and rich, yet delicate with a long, full finish. The recommended serve is on the rocks in a balloon glass.

GREY GOOSE VX is presented in an exquisite decanter made from ‘extra flint’ glass, which is known for its exceptional quality. The bottle shape and fine detailing are inspired by historical French decanters, with rounded shoulders and a pronounced heavy-set stopper, while still retaining contemporary design cues from the original GREY GOOSE bottle.

“This really is a significant change for the white spirits category,” commented Nick Marshall, GREY GOOSE Brand Director. “It expands the vodka experience for luxury spirits connoisseurs across both white and dark categories. It is a serious demonstration of how GREY GOOSE can shape the future as part of our continuing commitment to drive innovation and category growth.”

70cl GREY GOOSE VX will be available in leading partner bars in London from Spring 2015 and for purchase in select premium airport locations in London, New York and Paris from September 2014.

For tasting notes on the VX as well as the rest of the range, please see my feature on the brand here.


Flavour Hunters Invited To Track Down Pop-Up Glorious 12 Whisky & Game Bar In London



The British game season is off with a bang and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has teamed up with The Wild Game Co. to pair seasonal wild game with its rare single cask whiskies at the Glorious 12 pop-up at Studio 2, New Inn Yard in Shoreditch, London in from 11-13 September.

For 3 evenings only, flavour hunters are invited to feast on a menu of Scottish game tapas, which features 12 different types of wild game, including woodcock, hare, partridge and wild boar, expertly paired with the exceptionally varied flavours of 12 of the Society’s rare single cask whiskies.

The Scottish tapas dishes on offer include:


Grouse, toasted brioche, roasted and pureed fig paired with a 34 year old juicy oak and vanilla single grain dram.

Roe deer striploin with frites, béarnaise and rowan jelly paired with a 22 year old peated dram.

Partridge, butterbean and chorizo matched with a 20 year old spicy and sweet dram

Glorious 12 will offer a ticketed hosting dining experience with two sittings each night at 6.45pm and 8.45pm. Ticket buyers will delve further into the world of flavours with expert talks each evening:

Wednesday 10th September – Media launch night

SMWS Brand Ambassador Annabel Meikle and Wild Game Co. founder Andy Waugh co-host media for supper and provide an insight into whisky and game pairings

Thursday 11th September – Foraging flavours with Thom Hunt

The founder of wild adventure company, 7th Rise, Thom Hunt, will guide guests through foraging in the wild, showing how to find the best of the countryside’s hidden treasures

Friday 12th September – Game butchery with Thom Hunt

Learn the basics of butchering game, including small birds and rabbits. Thom Hunt will detail the basics of skinning and butchering small game with a live demonstration, highlighting the best cuts and describing some of his favourite recipes

Saturday 13th September – DIY meat smoking with Ru Emslie

Game specialist Ru Emslie talks guests through how to smoke meat and fish at home. The talk includes how to make your own meat smoker as well as the best ways to create delicious wood-smoked game at home

The bar will also be open to walk-ins to sample some of the drams and tapas dishes on offer.

The pop-up will be staged at Studio 2, 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, with the contemporary gallery space being transformed into a Scottish tapas and whisky bar, with elements of the Scottish countryside transporting guests away from city life.

Helen Stewart, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s UK Brand Manager, said: ”The single casks that we bottle give us a wide, ever-changing variety of flavours to play with. Experimenting with these rare whiskies alongside the wild game sourced by The Wild Game Co. has resulted in some fascinating flavour pairings.”

Andy Waugh, founder of The Wild Game Co., said “When it comes to game, our aim is to take people on journey of discovery so they can explore these seasonal meats, which are so often overlooked yet soavailable on our doorsteps. There’s not a better time than now to eat game, as it’s just come into season and pairing wild game with different types of whisky offers a whole new flavour experience.”

The Glorious 12 Whisky & Game Bar, Studio 2, 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3EY – Thursday 11th September – Saturday 13th September

Tickets/more information: 

£29 – ticket price includes hosted dining experience, 4 pairings of game and whisky and a guest talk. Only ticket buyers have access to the full menu of 12 whisky and game pairings. The bar is also open to walk-ins who can order a limited selection of Society drams and game tapas from the bar.


National Final Of Wild Turkey Bourbon’s UK Cocktail Competition Comes To Manchester


Gruppo Campari’s Wild Turkey® Bourbon has searched the length of the country for its annual UK Cocktail Competition; seeking out the best whiskey bartender to be judged at the final on the 27th of August at the recently opened bar, Cane and Grain in Manchester.  The finalists will be competing not only for the 2014 Title but for a transatlantic trip to the home of Bourbon – Kentucky.

The iconic American brand began its search in July at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms, followed by Jenny’s Bar in Liverpool, then headed south to Boilermaker in Nottingham, took to Hawksmoor in the Capital and finished up in Bristol at the Red Light.

The judges, which included Wild Turkey’s UK Brand Ambassador Martin Taylor, as well as the likes of Tiger White from the Edinburgh Whisky Blog, Greg Dillon from, Leon Dallaway from Shake Rattle and Stir and Lynette Pinchess from the Nottingham Post chose the best 12 bartenders from a list of more than 200 entries. 

The 12 finalists will be judged by Martin Taylor and with him; leading trade publication Imbibe’s spirits expert Clint Cawood and last years winner, Henry Yates of Boilermaker in Nottingham.

The winner, plus 2 runners up, will win an exclusive trip to Kentucky to discover the recently opened Wild Turkey Visitor Centre, indulge in a VIP tour and special tasting, before wrapping up with a night in New York City checking out all the best bourbon bars.

Last years winner Henry Yates won the competition unanimously with his cocktail named ‘The Right to Freeze Peach’ which was voted for by judges Simon Difford of, Martin Taylor of Wild Turkey, and Hugo Mills, previously of Gruppo Campari.

Speaking about his creation, Henry said, “My inspiration for the peach, ice tea and mint cocktail originated from Wild Turkey country.  I wanted to create a cocktail with ingredients which are readily available, as an introduction to Bourbon.”

To make last years winning Wild Turkey cocktail ‘The Right to Freeze Peach’ by Henry Yates, you will need;

50ml Wild Turkey 81
10ml Crème de peche
20ml Peach syrup (canned)
10ml Lemon juice
100ml Iced black tea (Chinese)
6 drops of Grapefruit bitters

Shake over ice, strain and serve in an empty peach tin can with a sprig of mint and garnish with a Wild Turkey 101 atomised peach slice.

Details of this years finalists who will be competing for Henry’s title are as below:

Scotland –                      Will Cox of The Bon Vivant , Michael Braun of Panda & Sons and Michael Cameron of Guy’s Restaurant & Bar
North England –           Tim Laferla of Mr Coopers House & Garden and Paul Murphy of Whiskey Business
Midlands -                     Andy Moran of Boilermaker and Joe Macbeth of The Lacehouse
South West -                 Richard Tring of Red Light and Michael Sharpe of Hyde & Co
London -                       Joshua Cynar Reynolds and Alistair Reynolds of Hawksmoor Spitalfields and Sam Kershaw of Hawksmoor Guildhall


Diageo Still Popping Up At The Edinburgh Fringe

Get yourself to Edinburgh and check out a whole host of pop-up bars from Diageo -

tanqerayTanqueray Secret Garden

56 North, Tanqueray Gin and Diageo World Class are delighted to present the “Secret Garden”. Located behind the home of Scottish Gin at 56 North this previously unused space is being transformed into a summer garden for the Fringe Festival 2014. Be sure to try the Tanqueray No.TEN Grapefruit & Chamomile Fizz.

don julioDon Julio at Festival Square

Make sure you visit the Don Julio hut in the heart of the festival, Festival Square and grab a Don Julio frozen margarita before you shoot off to see a show.

zacapaThe Zacapa Experience at Chaophraya

Situated at exactly 23 metres above street level is ‘The Zacapa Experience’ at Chaophraya with unparalleled views over Edinburgh’s famous George Street. The must have drink here is the Zacapa 23 vanilla and banana smoked pina colada, best enjoyed with sunshine.

johnnie walkerJohnnie Walker at Harvey Nichols

The Harvey Nichols rooftop terrace has had a makeover and transformed into a Johnnie Walker experience complete with a World Class cocktail menu. If you get time you can even warm up for the Ryder Cup by practicing your putting skills whilst sipping on a Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

Sibling Triple Distilled Gin Joins Harvey Nichols Prestigious Drinks Cabinet


Sibling Distillery was launched by four siblings on June 4th 2014, with Gin and Tonic party attended by well over 200 people in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Since then it has been a busy couple of months for the Elliott-Berry family, selling into cocktail bars and independent retailers in Cheltenham, Bristol, Bath and London. The Triple Distilled Gin has been amazingly well received, already making it onto the cocktail lists of several very successful cocktail bars and becoming the fastest selling spirit in renowned specialist retailers.

However ‘the next step’ has come sooner than they imagined. Within two months of trading Sibling Distillery will be launching into Harvey Nichols, nationwide including stores in Manchester, Knightsbridge, Edinburgh and Dublin. Wine and spirits buyer Ivan Dixon says “Sibling is an exciting addition to the gin scene that boasts a refreshing point of difference and massive appeal. Representing an excellent example of contemporary craft gin, Sibling combines a unique background story with beautiful packaging and an exceptional liquid.” Sibling Triple Distilled Gin will be in stores from Friday 22nd August, and over the following few months Sibling Distillery will be conducting tastings in stores across the UK and Ireland.

Drambuie Says Cheers To 100 Years With The Mackinnon Punch

Drambuie - The Mackinnon Punch

Drambuie, the extraordinary blend of the finest aged Scotch whisky, spices and heather honey has created the perfect cocktail, The Mackinnon Punch, to mark the centenary of the Drambuie Liqueur Company.

This ultimate seasonal cocktail combines Drambuie, a topping of soda water, Angostura Bitters and a squeeze of fresh lemon, to create a deliciously refined cocktail with an effervescent finish.

The Mackinnon Punch

35ml Drambuie
Top Soda
2 Dash Angostura Bitters

Method: Fill a highball glass with ice and pour in the Drambuie. Top with soda water and add the bitters. Gently stir. Squeeze in a lemon wedge for a touch of citrus.

Drambuie Presents: The Unique Drambuie Summer Hut At Underbelly

Drambuie Underbelly

Throughout August, Drambuie will open the ’Drambuie Summer Hut’ in the heart of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Guests will be able to enjoy a range of Drambuie cocktails including the deliciously refined Mackinnon Punch, the extraordinary Scottish Sangria, the novel Dram-brew-ie, and of course the refreshing (and ever popular) Drambuie & Ginger Beer.

The bar is designed in a style inspired by the surreal optical illusionary art of Salvador Dali. An incredible metallic hand with a Dali inspired eye welcomes you in to this extraordinary world, and upon entering, you are invited to experience the depth and complexity of Drambuie.

Visitors are encouraged to step into our surreal photo wall – prizes will available to those who encounter out our cast of Drambuie Players as they bring a taste of the extraordinary to visitors throughout the Fringe.

The bar will be open from 12pm till late each day and is located under the Pasture area at Underbelly, Bristo Square.

Bristo Square

For the latest information, find Drambuie on Facebook and Twitter @Drambuie #drambelly

Freelance Bar Advisor/Consultant, Events Organisation/Collaboration & Reviewer, Taster & Guide to the World of Drinks

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