Chivas Masters Starts Search For Top Bartending Talents

Chivas Masters 2016 - Shanghai skyline

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has commenced the search for the 2016 Global Chivas Master, where competitors this year will be judged not only on their bartending abilities but also on their demonstration of Chivas’ values of brotherhood and generosity. This month sees national heats start around the world, which will for the first time culminate with the grand final in Shanghai in July 2016, celebrating success through teamwork, collaboration and mentorship.

The national stages will challenge entrants to recreate Chivas Regal’s journey across the globe. Taking inspiration from the classic cocktails of New York to the booming bars of Shanghai, via their local cocktail scene, entrants will be asked to create three drinks that enhance Chivas Regal’s smooth, generous style and epitomise its international appeal in order to reach the grand final.

The most talented competitor from each market will then be invited to spend five immersive days in Shanghai at the Chivas Masters Global Final, where they will undertake a number of key challenges following workshops from the industry’s best. Throughout five days of challenges and inspirational masterclasses, competitors will be judged on their bartending talent and ability to lead, mentor and inspire a team by a distinguished panel of industry experts.

Collaboration will be rewarded this year by granting a winning team at the Global Final a once in a lifetime trip to The Tales of the Cocktail 2016 in New Orleans to learn from some of the industry’s most renowned bartenders. A further prize will be awarded to the 2016 Global Chivas Master, who will earn a bespoke trip to one of the world’s most iconic bars in a city of their choice to create a signature Chivas cocktail as their lasting contribution to the global competition.

Max Warner, International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal comments: “Mentorship and collaboration are traits found at the heart of the bartending industry. We want to celebrate this spirit of camaraderie through the Chivas Masters 2016 competition by encouraging entrants to celebrate success with their peers. We will be looking for competitors who are able to demonstrate a true spirit of leadership as well as excellent bartending talent.”

Bartenders with the ambition to become the next Chivas Master are encouraged to get in touch with their local market Pernod Ricard representative for details on how to enter.


‘From Dream To Dram’ Kingsbarns Distillery Launches Founders’ Club

Kingsbarns Distillery  Founders' Club Welcome Pack

In celebration of the first anniversary of its opening, Kingsbarns Distillery is delighted to launch the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club. Members of the new Founders’ Club will be the very first to own a bottle of Kingsbarns Single Malt.

The Kingsbarns Distillery in Fife officially opened on 30th November 2014, St Andrew’s Day, with the first spirit running through the stills in January 2015. The launch of the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club is an exciting chance for whisky enthusiasts to enjoy being a part of the journey for this new distillery.

The Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club is open to just 3000 members worldwide. Initially, a welcome pack will be sent to all members, consisting of a 20cl bottle of Kingsbarns Distillery New Make Spirit, a Founders’ Club Glencairn glass, a membership badge and welcome letter.

The first ever bottles of Kingsbarns Single Malt will be bottled exclusively for members of the Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club. It is expected that some of the first casks ever filled will be selected for this first bottling around mid 2018. Members will receive a bottle of this exclusive Kingsbarns Founders’ Club Reserve, enabling them to become one of the very first to taste Kingsbarns Single Malt. Following that, each year for 4 subsequent years, members will receive a further Founders’ Club Reserve bottle, allowing members to enjoy the progression of the single malt.

Kingsbarns Distillery Founders’ Club memberships cost £500 plus carriage and are available at the distillery, online at and also from Kingsbarns Founders’ Club Membership Subscription – Master of Malt

Abelha Organic Cachaça Launches “Abelha Art Awards – Celebrating Bahia”

Abelha - Brasilian Lady

Abelha Organic Cachaça is looking to celebrate summer 2016 with a new-look label inspired by one the most colourful, vibrant and culturally diverse states of Brazil, Bahia, where Abelha is made. In order to find the design for the label, Abelha is launching a global competition, the Abelha Art Awards – Celebrating Bahia.

The competition is open to everyone; whether they are an artist, a designer, an illustrator or a bartender. The winning label design will be on stockists’ shelves and behind bars throughout summer 2016 and the artist whose design will be chosen will also receive a prize of €2000.

The brief is simple; create a piece of artwork, preferably two-dimensional, that can be used on a bottle of Abelha Organic Cachaça. Take inspiration from any shape, form, instrument, food, landscape, people, heart, simplicity or the rural rhythm of Bahia state. To inspire even further, Abelha will be sending out samples of the cachaça to those within the Europe Union so they can experience the lush, green, fresh flavour of the cachaça.

A competition will run until 6th February where a panel of judges will choose the top ten pieces of artwork. The artworks will then be displayed in an exhibition marking the launch of the new label, which takes place in June. The chosen label design will also be unveiled at the event.

To find out more details about the competition, please click here or email

The Summer Label 2016 will be the second limited edition label to be produced by Abelha Organic Cachaça. Earlier this year, Abelha collaborated with Brazilian based urban artist Ananda Nahu to create the first limited edition label. Her Abelha label captures all aspects of her more large-scale works; the woman portrayed on the label excites the senses and highlights the rich history of Bahia. Playful honeybees dart amongst flowers in full bloom in a world where cachaça is a feast for both the eyes and the mouth.

Abelha Organic Cachaça is an artisanal organic cachaça hailing from the lush green hills of Bahia´s countryside, a north-eastern state in Brazil. The plantation is located in the small town of Rio de Contas, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Chapada Diamantina National Park. Abelha has a strong commitment with organic farming practices, traditional distilling methods, fairtrade principles, simplicity and joie de vivre. Bahia is well regarded as one of the most beautiful, artistic, fun-loving and musical regions in Brazil. Launched in the UK in 2009, the brand quickly reached the premium level category due to its quality and taste. Abelha Organic Cachaça is now available at top UK bars, restaurants and retailers including Marks & Spencer and Harvey Nichols. Abelha is sold in 11 different countries

The Buffalo Trail Stopped For Food At Hawksmoor


Last week, the Buffalo Trace Trail came into Manchester as it meanders its way across the UK. Working alongside restaurants within key cities such as London and Liverpool, UK Buffalo Trace Brand Ambassador Tim Giles hosted an evening at the ever-popular Hawksmoor, a venue that Time Out has said is “a place to blur day with night over cocktails and the country’s finest meat”.

With a focus on their 2015 Antique Collection, including expressions such as Eagle Rare, Sazerac and Thomas H Handy, the team at Hawksmoor came up with a fantastic menu, complimented by Buffalo Trace serves from the bar team.
Starters included short-rib nuggets with kimchi, fried oysters with tartar and roast beetroot salad with Dorstone, enjoyed with a serve named ‘Zenith of Man’ which saw Buffalo Trace paired with Pimento Dram, PX, apple and mint.

Tim (l) and Ross (r)

Entwined between courses was a short look into Buffalo Trace by both Tim and Ross Thompson of Buffalo’s UK distributor Hi-Spirits, before indulging into the main course of a Hawksmoor burger with Ogleshield, triple cooked chips and vinegar slaw, showed off with a serve from the bar named ‘Trace It Back To Bill’, which saw Buffalo Trace roast plum and pepper syrup, soda and lemon come together.

For pudding, a delicious honeycomb sundae paired with with the ‘Trailblazer’; Buffalo Trace, Tawny port, Chartreuse and bitters that worked well to finish the evening in style.

Well I say style.

Tim and Ross introduced the 2015 Antique Collection by Buffalo Trace. 5 expressions of highly commended and award-winning liquids, with enough for one or two drams to really finish the evening!

An evening such as this really got the audience in attendance looking at Buffalo Trace in a different way, as the 3 courses by Hawksmoor worked perfectly with the Buffalo Trace serves created by the bar team (special thanks to Richie West and Anthony Hogan). With a look at the Antique Collection, it really made the evening a special one, and a potential break of the bank as I now search for a bottle of the Thomas H. Handy!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.


Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix Hits Manchester


The Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix rolled into Manchester this afternoon as The Liars Club played host to eleven of north England’s best bartenders as they competed to impress and earn a place to the UK final.

Yours truly was sat on the judging panel, alongside Havana Club Global Brand Ambassador Meimi Sanchez, UK Brand Ambassador Mike Foster, and bar consultant Jamie Jones.

With a brief that all bartenders must utilize at least 35 ml of Havana Club 3 year as the base, as well as serving it within a recycled vessel (essentially an item not normally associated with a drinking vessel), the competition threw up some interesting ideas. Lets take a look at some of the highlights from each competitor!

Lee Jones from Smokestack, Leeds was the first to enter the bar, with his serve named Cuban Cradle, as he showed off a blend of Havana Club, Amaro Montenegro and a grapefruit syrup with a touch of sea salt, garnished with an absinthe spray and served within a melted down bottle. Selina Raggett of Hawksmoor, Manchester looked to impress with Havana Club, grapefruit and sherbet syrup, Manzanilla sherry, lime juice and rhubarb bitters; a recipe she named Buena Vista Cocktail Club and served within a shell that sat atop of a Cuban music box.

James of Dandy Longlegs in Sunderland offered the judges El Independiente, a mix of Havana Club, Monin Jasmin, fresh mango and Coco Real, served within a hollowed out mango secured to a drumstick, coming complete with the drum too! Roberto of Bottega in Manchester showed some of his Italian side as he utilized Martini Extra Dry alongside Havana Club, St Germaine and fresh orange juice, all served within a hollowed out, frozen orange that he named the European Daiquiri.

HC3YO-thumb2Georgia Thresh of Tariff and Dale in Manchester was up next, showcasing her idea she called Rhubarb . . . . . and of course Custard. This saw a combination of Havana Club, a rhubarb, fresh and stemmed ginger infusion, egg, vanilla extract and rhubarb bitters within an old candle holder, served with sweets for her garnish. James Cooper of Dusk til Pawn, also in Manchester, came up with an idea that included Havana Club, mango and chilli jam, Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Cocktail Bitters, lime juice and mint leaves. Naming it Compeñero, he served it within a sandwich container, complete with a Cuban sandwich to match.

Tiger Hornsby of Newcastle were also represented by Steve, who showed off Havana Club, Cazcabel Honey, apricot infused Lillet Blanc, Bob’s Bitters and fresh lemon, served within the bottle neck of a cut Havana 3yr bottle and naming it Primera Dama, or First Lady. Dan from Banyan, one of Manchester’s newest venues, brought to the bar a recipe he named The Old and the New. This saw Havana Club, grapefruit juice, lime, apricot brandy and pineapple and passion-fruit syrup come together within a cut Havana 7yr bottle.

Dan Edwards from No.28 Bar and Bistro in Newcastle showed off his idea named Ambos Mundos, seeing Havana Club, lime, pink grapefruit juice, agave syrup and maraschino come together and served within a Cuban cigar holder. Steve Levanis of Mojo Bar, Manchester went for La Fortunada, a recipe consisting of Havana Club, honey water and citric acid, Lillet and egg white, served from a huge hollowed out lighter with a grapefruit zest.

Amir Javaid of Harvey Nichols 2nd Floor Bar in Manchester was the last to impress the judging panel, utilizing Havana Club, a hay smoked pineapple syrup, lemon, Velvet Falernum and Angostura Bitters. Calling it All Along the Watchtower, he served it within a milk carton and sprayed over a rhubarb, black tea and almond liqueur.

Of course though, despite all eleven impressing in their own way, there was to only be one winner, earning a place in the UK final and going up against the cream of the crop from cities around the UK. Congratulations to Selina Raggett of Hawksmoor, Manchester! With her inspiration of Cuban culture, specifically music, and tying it in with her unique serving vessel, her Buena Vista Cocktail Club will hopefully impress further as she looks to bring the title of Havana Club Grand Prix 2015 home to Manchester!

Buena Vista Cocktail Club, by Selina Raggett, Hawksmoor, Manchester

60 ml Havana Club 3yr
20 ml Grapefruit sherbet syrup
20 ml Lime juice
10 ml Manzanilla sherry
2 dash Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters

Shaken over ice and served within a sea shell.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.


De Kuyper Shows Off Its Mystery Box


Last week saw myself invited down to judge once again a cocktail competition with a difference. Hosted within 1812 Lounge Bar in Bournemouth, De Kuyper were supporting the UKBG and their Mystery Box competition semi-final, which saw 20 bartenders from across the south coast of England battle it out, yet having no idea what their recipe would be.

Essentially, each bartender drew a number upon their arrival, with the number corresponding with an unopened hamper, filled during the day with 6 ingredients. Only being able to use 4 of the 6, as well as any of the De Kuyper expressions, including Lemongrass and Lapsang Souchong, and a further sponsored spirit from a range such as Conker gin, Evan Williams bourbon and Remy Martin cognac.

With 10 minutes time-limit, the hamper opens and each bartender has to come up with a winning recipe using their knowledge, skill and presentation skills to impress the judges (myself, James Fowler, 2014 UK winner of World Class, and Paul Curry, brand manager of De Kuyper). Not always easy ingredients though, as some found out that they may need to use rather irregular brands such as tomato ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard alongside their chosen two base spirits!

It’s odd to say that I have tried a mayonnaise foam upon a cocktail.

10 bartenders would go through to the final, set to be next week in Bournemouth. Here’s a sneak peek at the lineup –

Niall Percival competing for Remy Martin 1738
Tommo Quy competing for Jinzu Gin
Cameron Moncaster competing for Conker Dorset Dry Gin
Andy Hardwick competing for Evan Williams extra aged
Gemma Terry competing for Evan Williams extra aged
Dave Hall competing for Flor de Cana 4yo
Luke Sheppard competing for 3 Barrels Brandy
Joe Prout competing for Tarquin Gin
Johnny Brissenden competing for Casamigo Tequila Blanco
Sarah Owens competing for Cinzano 1757

Now, the above have impressed so far with some innovative drinks, but they have to sweep that away and work alongside their given brand (drawn randomly) to be in with a chance of the star prize, whilst also incorporating De Kuyper in their serve and brushing up on their knowledge of the Schiedam brand.

I’ll let you know how it goes, I’m on the judging panel!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

East London Liquor Company Announces Innovative + Sustainable Local Collaboration With Porterlight Bicycles


Independent British distillery, East London Liquor Company has announced its collaboration with Porterlight Bicycles, to offer an innovative way to deliver its range of handcrafted spirits to local customers. Handmade in North London, the bespoke cargo bicycle will deliver to local on-trade accounts around East London including Pidgin, Lardo, Lonzo, Brahms & Liszt, Noble Fine Liquor and Fin & Flounder, offering a sustainable and environmentally friendly method of transport for the distillery’s products. This will be delivered by the same dedicated distillery team who are instrumental in the creation of East London Liquor Company’s offering, led by founder Alex Wolpert.

Wolpert says; “We are excited to partner with Porterlight Bicycles to offer this new service to our customers. Like us, Porterlight is a neighbourhood company with global vision, who value independence and honesty.”


Located in the heart of the Capital’s old spirits industry, East London Liquor Company produces exceptional and innovative spirits. Originally a glue factory in Bow Wharf, East London Liquor Company found its home in the disused industrial space and repurposed the venue to create a custom-built distillery that produces and imports a range of small-batch spirits. As the first vodka, gin and whisky distillery to find its home in East London for over 100 years, East London Liquor Company’s new Porterlight Bicycle delivery service highlights the company’s commitment to the local area.

Gin Peddler and distillery craftsman, Chris Culligan, will man the bicycle making regular local deliveries around the neighbourhood and offering his knowledge and expertise to customers.

Founded in 2008 by Lawrence Brand, Porterlight Bicycles offers cargo bikes for modern living, capable enough to serve as a car replacement but compact enough for London city living. Offering a bespoke service, each Porterlight Bicycle is built-to-order and can be used for a variety of purposes.

Stoli Calendar Of Cocktails

Fancy some Christmas cocktail ideas? Stolichnaya have shared with me some festive ideas, one for each month and occasion!





Get into the festive spirit with a hot cider twist on a Stoli Lemonade. Pre-batch and pop in a thermos flask to keep warm with friends on a winter night.

50ml Stolichnaya® Premium Vodka into a small saucepan.
Add 25ml fresh lemon juice
Add 25ml cider
Add 12.5ml sugar syrup

Stir gently until warmed,  do not let it boil.
Pour carefully into a mason jar and garnish with a cinnamon  stick (and sparkler!)
Multiply the quantities by 4 for  a flask recipe to share with friend.



A seasonal speciality from September to February, the crimson Pomegranate comes into its own at hristmas with its jewels of juice adding sparkle to any festive feast. ombine with Stoli Lemonade for a guaranteed party stunner!

50ml Stolichnaya® Premium Vodka into a mason jar
Add 25ml fresh lemon juice.
Add 12.5ml sugar syrup
Add 25ml fresh pomegranate juice
Add cubed ice to the top of your glass.

Top with water (still or sparkling). Swizzle ingredients to ensure all have mixed together.

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds to garnish. Multiply the quantities by 4 for a pitcher recipe to share with friends.



You can͛t top the pop of a Champagne cork to get the party started. This play on a classic Champagne cocktail makes an elegant way to see in the New Year!

50ml Stolichnaya® Premium Vodka into a hampagne coupe or flute.
Add 25ml fresh lemon juice
Add 12.5ml sugar syrup
Tdopped up with Champagne.

Built in a champagne glass. Serve with a lemon peel twist.



Stoli Salted Karamel | Ideal As A Gift

Salted_Karamel_Lights_Square_11355 copy

Sweeten up the festive season with Stoli Salted Karamel, the world’s first salted caramel vodka, RRP £21, available nationwide.

The ideal Christmas gift, Stoli Salted Karamel offers the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. Indulge loved ones’ taste buds with flavours of caramelised sugar and soft English toffee, complimented by a light saltiness and a smooth elegant finish. Delicious on the rocks by a warm fire on Christmas day and perfect in a festive cocktail to ring in the New Year, Stoli Salted Karamel is a gift everyone will enjoy.

Just one from Stoli’s range of premium flavoured vodkas, Stoli Salted Karamel is triple distilled, blended with artesian water and four times filtered for an award winning Alpha grade spirit.

Intrigued? Pop into London Cocktail Club for a Bump n Grind!


1. 50ml Stolichnaya® Salted Karamel Premium Vodka
2. 20ml Coffee Liqueur
3. 10ml Vanilla Gomme
4. Topped fresh coffee

1. Shake ingredients with ice
2. Pour into martini glass + top with fresh coffee
3. Garnish with a Bourbon biscuit

Be At One Adds Pusser’s Painkiller To The Cocktail Menu

Pussers - Painkiller 2

Following the announcement of Be At One’s new Christmas drinks menu, signature serve, ‘The Pusser’s Painkiller’, makes its debut; set to whisk those winter blues away during the cold and dark nights. First recognised at the six-seat Soggy Dollar Bar, on the island of Jost Van Dyke in the heart of the British Virgin Islands, the Painkiller is a rich and fruity drink set to turn patrons’ Christmas evening into one of paradise.

In support of the drink, Be At One venues across the UK will be taking on the Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof (54.5% ABV), a rich and full-bodied rum aged for a minimum of three years, and the original strength approved by the Admiralty.

UK Marketing Manager, Peter Thornton says “For such an important cocktail bar to take on the Pusser’s Painkiller is hugely exciting. This drink has a rich and intriguing history, not to mention it tastes great. The Be At One listing will help us reach more younger consumers. We look forward to what we hope we will be a great future with Be At One!”

“We are always looking for great cocktails to keep our menu innovative and exciting, and the Pusser’s Painkiller is the perfect addition. With Christmas drawing in, it’s always good to give customers that taste of sunshine!” explains Learning and Development Officer at Be At One, Nick Lewis.


· 35ml Pusser’s Rum Gunpowder Proof (or 54.5% ABV)
· 25ml Coco Re’al Cream of Coconut
· 25ml Orange Juice
· 100ml Pineapple Juice
· Top with grated nutmeg

1. Shake all ingredients together with ice. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice.
2. Garnish with further 15ml of Pusser’s 54.5%abv Rum and fresh ground nutmeg

Freelance Events Curator/Collaborator, Brand Development, Drink Journalist, Taster & Guide to the World of Drinks

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