Win Tickets To This Year’s Liquor Market And The New G&J Greenall Book

greenall books

To celebrate the upcoming Liquor Market and the launch of the new book ‘G & J Greenall: A Spirited Story of Gin and Genius’, written by Richard Barnett and Violeta Ruiz Cuenca, I’ve five copies and five tickets to give away to spirit lovers everywhere!

The book looks into G&J Distillers, originally known as G&J Greenall, a company with more than 250 years of heritage, distilling superior spirits to perfection since 1761. The distillery in Warrington, North West England, is one of the oldest gin distilleries in the world and is the oldest continuous gin distillers in production today.

With archived photos, cocktail recipes created by myself, Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast, and a detailed look into both the 250 year history and production methods for one of the most recognisable gin brands in the UK, ‘G & J Greenall: A Spirited Story of Gin and Genius’ is perfect for amateurs and enthusiasts alike.

The Liquor Market is in its second year and will be held at Elixir Tonics & Treats on Deansgate in Manchester, Saturday 27th September. The perfect place to experience a wide variety of spirits, as well as learn hints and tips on how to enjoy at home. Local bartender and photographer Jamie Stephenson will also be on hand with a curation of his work.

To be in with a chance of winning a book and ticket, simply visit http://www.gjdistillers.com and tell me who founded the company that became G&J Greenall?
Follow @LiquorMarket and tweet your answer using the hashtag #GJDistillers. Terms and Conditions apply. You must be able to attend the Liquor Market on Saturday 27th September to claim your prize.

Good luck!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By entering this competition, you agree to the Terms and Conditions which can be found below.

You must be able to attend the Liquor Market on Saturday 27th September to claim your prize.

“By entering this competition, you agree to the following terms and conditions of entry: You are of legal drinking age and entering from and resident of the UK. The competition closes at 11.59pm on Sunday 21st September. To enter the competition, you must tell me who founded the company that became G&J Greenall, Follow @LiquorMarket and tweet your answer using the hashtag #GJDistillers. Five winners will be randomly selected from all complete & correct entries. One entry per person, no bulk or third party entries. The prize is one copy of the book ‘G & J Greenall: A Spirited Story of Gin and Genius’, written by Richard Barnett and Violeta Ruiz Cuenca, and one complimentary ticket to the Liquor Market, organised by Drinks Enthusiast. There are five prizes to be won, and no cash or prize alternatives. No purchase necessary. The winning entries will be drawn at random from all valid entries received before the deadline. The winner will be notified by email and no responsibility is taken for incorrectly supplied email addresses. You give consent for Drinks Enthusiast, G&J Distillers Greenall’s Gin to use your name and photograph on Drinks Enthusiast, G&J Distillers Greenall’s Gin website/social media, in association with this competition. Drinks Enthusiast reserves the right to amend, vary or withdraw the Competition at any time owing to circumstances beyond its reasonable control. This competition will be governed by laws of England & Wales. The Promoter: Drinks Enthusiast, 30 Gawsworth Close, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 7EG.

Countries eligible to enter the competition: United Kingdom only.

Competition closes on Sunday 21st September, the winner will be selected at random and notified on Monday 23rd September, with delivery of the prize on Saturday 27th September at Elixir Tonics & Treats, Manchester.

New New Zealand Based Craft Beer Launches To The On-Trade

Monteith's

Monteith’s Brewing Company, the iconic and oldest craft brewery in New Zealand, made its debut in the UK on-trade on the 11th September by showcasing a range of four beers, available with immediate effect via HEINEKEN® UK.

Established by Stewart Monteith in 1868 for the pioneering gold mining communities on the country’s South Island West Coast, this heritage brand has long been loved by a series of successive generations and is now recognised as a leader in the New Zealand craft beer market.

The launch event took place at the New Zealand-inspired restaurant Kopapa in Convent Garden, where a host of media and Kiwis joined the team at HEINEKEN for an exclusive introductory food-pairing session hosted by beer expert, award-winning beer writer, comedian and one half of the ‘Thinking Drinkers’, Ben McFarland.

Speaking about the brand event Ben McFarland said: “It’s never been a better time to be a discerning beer drinker in the UK where consumers are enjoying an unprecedented level of choice in terms of flavours, styles and drinking experiences.

“With a plethora of highly sought after hop varieties and a thriving craft brewing culture, New Zealand has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting brewing nations in recent years and Monteith’s, whose history dates back nearly 150 years, has been instrumental in this.

“Back in New Zealand, Monteith’s has been celebrating beer’s kinship with cuisine for some time now and having partnered with Kopapa, a restaurant owned and ran by Kiwis, it was interesting to see how chef Peter Gordon dovetailed Monteith’s quartet of beers with a range of different dishes.”

Pedro Cruz, Manager Export Western Europe, of HEINEKEN adds, “With consumer interest in the indie beer market continuing to accelerate, we are delighted to bring the unique and refreshing Monteith’s range to the UK. Even before its UK launch date the brand is already developing a powerful buzz on social media across the UK as craft beer fans eagerly anticipate the arrival of the ultimate expression of New Zealand’s proud brewing heritage.

Monteith’s has developed a cult following outside its home nation and is perfectly suited to today’s consumer demands for more from a beer, particularly in the versatility of pairing Monteith’s variants with contemporary food options.

The combination of great flavour, unique heritage and a natural affinity with food makes Monteith’s an exciting and appealing new option for UK restaurants and bars to offer to their customers.”

The Monteith’s range presented in 33cl bottles:

Monteith’s Bohemian Pilsner Beer – An eastern European-style lager with immense flavour and enormous hop character, this premium beer leaves you with a smooth, clean and bitter taste and pairs particularly well with tomato-based pasta dishes or shellfish.

Monteith’s Southern Pale Ale – The intensity of North West American hops with the liveliness of New Zealand hops, filtered to give a clear straw appearance. Beginning with a zesty citrus aroma, this pale ale has a full malt flavour and crisp finish, pairing well with fish and poultry dishes or ripe Camembert.

Monteith’s Summer Ale – The malts give it the smooth heart, the single hop and ginger its touch of spice. A little rata honey finishes things off nicely, leaving a truly refreshing taste experience and it’s great with summer salads, stir-fries or creamy Brie, pine nuts and honey oat bread.

Monteith’s India Pale Ale – With a fruity aroma, this ale has a distinct Kiwi taste thanks to the special New Zealand hops. With plenty of rich maltiness and a touch of bitter this premium beer leaves you wanting more and is perfect with fish ‘n’ chips, as well as creamy cheeses.

All Monteith’s beers are naturally brewed without artificial additives or preservatives. In fact, the only additives are ingredients like rata honey.

Available from HEINEKEN UK.

For more information on Monteith’s please visit http://www.monteiths.co.nz or visit http://www.facebook.com/Monteiths

IWSC Releases Beautiful South Wine Results

IWSC

The 10th September saw the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) announce its Beautiful South wine results at the Wines of the Beautiful South, London Olympia.

A strong performance was seen by South Africa, as they topped the Beautiful South medal leader board with an impressive 632 medals. Eight Gold Outstanding medals were awarded in the competition, South Africa picked up seven of these as well as 29 Gold. Highlights include leading wine and spirit producer KWV picking up 22 medals and Nederburg Wines being awarded three of the eight Gold Outstanding medals.

Producers in Chile also performed well, the country collected 375 medals, including a Gold Outstanding for its Casas del Bosque Syrah Pequenas Producciones 2012 and four Silver Outstanding medals were awarded to white wines all from the Aconcagua Region.

Among Argentina’s 234 medal haul, it was the country’s famous Malbec wines from Mendoza, which stood out and were awarded four Gold medals.

Brazil, hot on the heels of Chile and Argentina, picked up 19 medals including five Silver medals. Four of these were awarded to sparkling wines, a style which the country has recently been praised for.

The supermarkets put in a strong performance, Tesco was awarded 11 medals including a Silver for its Finest* Stellenbosch Red 2011. Sainsbury’s picked up eight medals, with its Taste the Difference Morador Malbec 2013 winning a Bronze. Lidl’s Cimarosa Chilean Pedro Jimenez 2013 was awarded a Silver medal. Aldi was awarded a Bronze for its The Exquisite Collection Uco Valley Malbec 2014.

IWSC General Manager, Ewan Lacey commented, “South Africa has done extremely well in the Beautiful South results. This year IWSC hosted showcases in South Africa and South America earlier this year, and the level of wines discovered were outstanding. Interestingly, looking at the results as a whole, it was interesting to see that we found that 2013 vintages were the strongest in this year’s competition.”

For the full list of Beautiful South winners, go to http://www.iwsc.net

Tot’s At The Ready, It’s Rum Time!

Rumfest

Fans rejoice as The RumFest returns to the UK on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October with a fresh look and a new venue. London’s ILEC Centre in Earl’s Court will play host to the eighth annual event, a celebration of rum and rum culture and in particular for 2014, a look at some of the most premium blends on the market. As a finale to the London Cocktail Week celebrations, attendees can sip and savour tipples from the vast variety of rums available from all over the world. Whether household and revered names like Bacardi, Havana Club, Diplomatico, Angostura and Mount Gay to discovering the industry’s best bourgeoning or spirits such as Duppy Share, Pusser’s and Abelha, there is no other place in the world to rejoice in a love of rum.

Not only this, The Rumfest is a chance for both novices and discerning drinkers alike to delve deeper into this vibrant culture, with a variety of masterclasses and seminars including cocktail workshops, rum and marshmallow pairing and chef & cocktail demos. Complete with a very special charity auction hosted by Christie’s supporting WaterAid and a carnival atmosphere, The Rumfest is the perfect place to bring the warmth of summer into the autumn months, a truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed. Tickets are now on sale for £49.95 available with more information from the The RumFest website. To apply for press accreditation visit the online application form.

The RumFest embodies the heart and soul of the spirit and the passion of its founder Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador. Recognised worldwide as the go-to event in Europe for the rum category, it brings together the world’s biggest, smallest, established and up-and-coming brands for a weekend of celebration, discovery and community.

Now in its eighth year the two-day event attracts both consumer and trade professionals alike, succeeding in developing even the most educated rum fans knowledge whilst introducing the spirit to complete novices. 2014’s RumFest will take proceedings to the new heights with a focus on the premium brands and blends within the category. The all-new Golden Tot Tokens will give visitors the opportunity to take part in some exclusive tastings of ultra-premium blends that retail between £80 – £2000 a bottle. With limited amounts available, visitors are urged to get in quick before stocks of these exquisite blends run out fast.

Guests are invited to take part in Seminars, Masterclasses and Workshops taking place across the two days set to bring to light the delights of the category. Seminars hosted by prestigious brands including Angostura, Diplomatico, Mount Gay, Havana Club and Don Q who will take attendees on an intimate journey of rum discovery. A selection of the industry’s greatest ambassadors including Richard Seale of Foursquare rum and one of the world’s best distillers Michael Delevante, will share their wealth of knowledge with a captivated audience. Food will also play a big part in this year’s proceedings with chocolate and marshmallow pairings, plus live cooking demonstration on the main stage washed down with handmade cocktails from the Global Rum Ambassador himself. Finally, the floor will be filled with live bands, souk dancers and the spirit of rum fully embraced in the ultimate party hour finale each day. A truly ‘rum-derful’ thing indeed.

The RumFest takes place in London at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earl’s Court on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th October 2014. Standard tickets are now on sale at £49.95 via the website, which include access to all areas of the the event and single measure tastings from the majority of exhibitors. Golden Tot Tokens are £5 each and allow for additional access to the more premium rums on offer. One token can be exchanged for rum retailing £80 – £100 and more expensive rums will be available for additional tokens. This year as a precursor to The RumFest, Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell will host a very special world record attempt for the World’s Largest Rum Tasting on Thursday 9th October. Limited tickets are available and can be purchased for just £10 via the RumFest website.

‘Pint Of The Usual Sir? No I’ll Have A Glass Of Claret Please’

lidl

Some countries look down their noses at the British and deride us for our lack of taste and knowledge relating to food and drink excellence, however new research on 2,000 Brits found that over two thirds (73%) understand that the UK is not a top wine producer in the world and almost the entire nation (92%) are aware that grapes are indeed grown on a vine.

Over half of the UK (54%) always take a bottle of wine to someone’s house when they have been invited for dinner. Brits don’t make wine faux pas either, 3 out of 5 people have never drunk wine from a pint glass, used a straw with their wine or ordered a dessert wine by mistake.

Londoners are most generous with almost two thirds (61%) claiming to always take a bottle of wine when invited for dinner, compared with less than half of the Welsh (46%). Less than half of the UK (45%) would expect or think it polite to drink the wine that they had bought over. Londoners were also the most judgemental, with a third (34%) admitting to judging someone for the way they drank their wine. The main bugbear being: drinking too quickly (12%), over filling the glass (11%) and drinking out of the bottle (9%).

Gone are the days when wine was perceived as an inaccessible tipple because the snobbery that was once associated with wine isn’t so prevalent anymore. Overall, 80% of people said that they have never judged a person for the way they drank their wine.

Georgina O’Donnell, Lidl PR Manager said: “People enjoy drinking a glass of fine wine and Lidl are going to be offering a selection of these from all of the classic regions of France including Bordeaux, The Loire Valley and Vacqueyras. The prices of each bottle will start from £5, providing a wine for all budgets.”

Wine is now becoming ‘the usual’ with over half (53%) admitting that when dining out they will choose their usual wine or one that they have heard of before. Only 6% of the participants would choose a wine because it was the cheapest and even less (2%) would choose a wine because it is the most expensive, highlighting we don’t go for any old plonk!

Ordering wine in a restaurant has often been perceived as a daunting prospect, not surprisingly men are more confident when ordering wine in a restaurant (58% of men vs 48% of women). Less than a quarter (22%) would feel uncomfortable, out of their depth or embarrassed ordering wine. Another quarter however, (25%) would happily hand over the honour to someone else.

People over 55 are most confident in ordering wine, with 60% citing that they would have no qualms ordering a bottle for the table. The people of Yorkshire are the most confident when it comes to wine selection, with 61% having no problems selecting a wine at a restaurant, compared with 46% of people in Birmingham which faired as the most unconfident region.

The research, was commissioned by supermarket Lidl, to mark the launch of their French promotion in stores across the UK today (Thursday 4th September) which will include the introduction of 48 fine French wines. Contrary to previous perceptions about the UK’s wine knowledge, the results found that the UK is knowledgeable and confident when it comes to choosing and drinking wine.

Wines included in the French promotion include:

Sud-Ouest, Monbazillac AOC 2011 – £7.99
Lalande-de-Pomerol AOP Château Siaurac 2007 – £13.99
Pouilly-Fumé AOP Les Vignes de Saint Laurent L’Abbaye 2013 – £8.99.
Rhone, Vacqueyras AOP 2012 – £8.99

The focus for the promotion is to offer high quality wines at reasonable prices.

Sailor Jerry Spices Up Category With New Bottle

sailorjerry_1_webWilliam Grant & Sons has unveiled a new look for its premium spiced rum, Sailor Jerry. The new bottle design has been developed to reinforce the brand’s premium credentials, authentic heritage and personality and provide clearer standout on shelf in retail and on the back bar.

While the liquid remains unchanged, the new design is an evolution of the previous look with clearer cues to Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins, the father of old-school tattooing. The bottle neck is now embossed with the iconic brand anchor and dates. The front label has also been split into two sections to allow more prominence of the hula girl iconography and script, whilst highlighting the proof and style, bold and smooth. A new bottle shape has also been introduced, ensuring the brand is clear and recognisable amongst its competitors.

Inspired by the famous tattoo artist, six new Sailor Jerry pinup girls have been added to the inside front label of the bottle. Brand fans already remove the label to collect the existing range and the new pack includes a new, removable label so that Sailor Jerry fans can easily continue their collections with the new artwork.

Senior Brand Manager for Sailor Jerry, Riana Gallagher commented: “Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum was developed to continue the legacy of Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins and was inspired by his era, when goods were made by hand and people had a stronger sense of pride in their work. The new packaging has been introduced to align the brand’s look and old school feel with the premium, authentic nature of the spirit.”
“In a competitive category, the changes have been made to ensure Sailor Jerry remains prominent in the on and off-trade sectors and reflect the values of craftsmanship, independence and originality Sailor Jerry was built on.”

In the off-trade, spiced rum now accounts for a quarter of all rum and is the fastest growing sub-category by value, while in the on-trade, value sales of spiced rum have almost doubled in the last two years, adding £50m to the category. Sailor Jerry is the number two spiced rum in the UK on and off-trade.

The new Sailor Jerry bottle will be available from September and joins a global roll out of the new packaging. In the UK, the recommended retail price remains £22.00.

The Irish Whiskey Academy

Irish Whiskey Academy

I hold my hands up when ever I conduct or host a tasting, masterclass or seminar and exclaim with the sentence “I confess, I don’t know everything about today’s subject”. Whether that is to be the history of a cocktail, the production of tequila or marketing of a beer, I always have to do my homework, and even then I may still have to refer to my notes to be able to deliver a confident speech or presentation. In my line of work, every day involves some kind of pitch. Even when I was bartending, you have to be confident in selling your products no matter what they are, and that’s exactly what I try to aim towards today. Whether my audience is to be a group of bartenders experiencing pisco for the first time, or thirty wine experts learning about the marketing a product in the modern-day, you have to be prepared for any outcome.

I attend many tastings and masterclasses to learn and experience a wide variety, which hopefully comes across within each article you read on this site. Inevitably I only know and therefore present to you what I take in, with official facts and stories entwined, but the chance to truly understand a category or indeed a specific brand can be rare. I’ve been very lucky since Drinks Enthusiast’s inception in that I have been able to appreciate first hand a variety of brands including Benedictine, Sloane’s, Sibling Distillery, Warner EdwardsAuchentoshan and most recently Grey Goose. All these trips have been an opportunity presented to me and in some cases would be hard for a regular customer to access. One experience is far from this statement, and to the UK, is presented right on the doorstep.

David McCabe of the Irish Whiskey Academy
David McCabe of the Irish Whiskey Academy

Last week, Irish Distillers of Pernod Ricard invited me to explore their relatively new concept within the Old Midleton Distillery, just outside of Cork. Since February 2013, The Irish Whiskey Academy has been offering an insight into the process of grain to bottle, and explain everything in between through modern and traditional techniques. The academy is taught through a classroom of sorts, within the renovated mill manager’s house at the boundary between the old and new Midleton distilleries. Here begins your journey into one of four packages that the academy offer, all presented by the incredibly knowledgeable David McCabe. For myself and the rest of the whiskey enthusiasts who had joined me from across the UK, Ireland and Netherlands, we experienced the ‘Enthusiast’ package (appropriately named I know!) which meant a two day look at everything the academy can offer.

The arrival at the Old Midleton Distillery offers an enticing view that easily transports you back to the 1800’s and sets the tone for the styles of buildings you will explore. In no particular order of itinerary, a tour of the old buildings dives into the workings of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, with the impressive Warehouse A1, one of the first warehouses that matured Cork Distillery whiskey, a must see. Interactive scenes gives you the best insight into the life of a distillery worker with even the likes of the customs office and waterwheel available to explore.

Malted Barley
Malted Barley

The main part of the academy though brings you to a comfortable lecture hall styled room. With movable blackboards offering clear diagrams, David McCabe explains everything from the raw materials used within the distillery, how each material is cultivated, brewed and fermented including the upgrade to modern techniques over the decades and the two main distillation methods used; pot and continuous distillation. Hands on approaches are also used, with the ability to see, smell and taste malted and unmalted barley straight from the fields, to the experiment of distilling water and alcohol within the classroom itself. An explanation into the differences between the variety of expressions created at the new distillery is also offered, so that you are fully aware of how each is created and ultimately shows a different flavour profile.

Staves are also handed out for a better understanding of the maturation techniques that the Irish Distillers use, as well as a look into their use of American and sherry oak barrels and how they came to be an integral part of the brands they create. This becomes even clearer with a demonstration within the cooperage itself, hosted by Master Cooper Ger Buckley. Here, Ger explains his role within the company and the art of creating a barrel through the tools used by previous generations. The insight into the woods used and the methods to repair casks that will ultimately hold whiskey for a number of years really gives an indication of how important the role of a Master Cooper can be.

Warehouse 42
Warehouse 42

This knowledge will also impart your beliefs and flavours into the blending exercise where you are able to blend your very own whiskey for you to take home. Not many places who can give you that kind of opportunity.

Of course, no academy course would be complete without a lesson in the art of truly appreciating the finished product. Held in the lounge area of the academy, itself adorned with old advertising posters, vintage photos and a wall of bottling’s from the Irish Distillers over the years, you can taste the likes of the Jameson range, Paddy’s, Powers, Midleton, Redbreast and both Green and Yellow Spot. To compliment, lunch at the Malt House, Jameson’s own restaurant within the Old Distillery, is a must.

Tasting the range within the Irish Whiskey Academy
Tasting the range within the Irish Whiskey Academy

Although I could write about everything I have learnt from my own two day trip, I feel that It would be more effective to explain within each of the features I have written, so please take a look at my articles of the Irish Distillers portfolio over the coming weeks for a more in-depth look at how each expression is created. In summarising this feature though,
I can’t stress enough that although the academy offers quite literally everything you need to know regarding not just Irish Distillers, but Irish whiskey in general, it’s not just for bartenders or expert whiskey lovers. I can safely say that all grades of knowledge will come away with an idea of what whiskey is all about. The four packages have been created to cater, and whichever you ultimately go for, you will go away with so much more than when you entered.

Get yourself signed up, enjoy yourself and try some fantastic whiskies. The Irish Whiskey Academy should be a high priority for anyone who has even a slight interest in Irish whiskey.

For more information on The Irish Whiskey Academy, please visit their website.

For more photos from my trip, please visit my Facebook page.

© 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.

The Artisan Liquor Market Returns To The Manchester Food And Drink Festival

Main Logo

The second instalment of the Liquor Market is coming back to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival this September 27th as artisan, craft and boutique spirits make their way to Elixir Tonics & Treats. First held at the annual festival last year, the success has prompted curator Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast to host another selection of spirits in one of Manchester’s most recognisable bars.

For one day only, the Deansgate based venue will be holding a number of stalls that will hold the likes of City of London gin, the first distillery in the City in over 200 years, as well as the highly acclaimed Italian range of Cocchi vermouth, Colorado newcomer Tincup whiskey and the Mexican styles of El Ron Prohibido rum.

Two sessions are available for the day, with the ticket price of £10 gaining you entry to your preferred time and giving you the chance to mingle, sample and experience a range of spirits straight from the brands themselves. Signature serves and recipe ideas will be available, as will the chance to purchase your favourite tipples directly on the day.

Other spirits available include the first showing of Sibling Distillery into the Manchester area as the young team bring their triple distilled gin. The Welsh Whisky Company are travelling up with their selection that includes Penderyn whisky, Brecon gin, Merlyn liqueur and Five vodka, whilst The Bottle Drinks Company will be showing off the likes of R. Delisle cognac and ‘The Secret’ chocolate fortified wine.
The Spanish style of Licor 43 will be on hand with recipe ideas, as will The Kraken spiced rum, Konik’s Tail vodka and The Irishman whiskey amongst others.

You will also be able to look into the world of drinks related photography at the market as award-winning and Manchester based bartender Jamie Stephenson brings his work for the viewing public.

All ticket holders will also have the chance to enter the Elixir Tonics & Treats liquor party to be held straight after the last session at 6pm. This gives the chance for the showcased brands to be a part of a specially curated menu for the evening and finishes the artisan market off in style.

For tickets, please visit http://www.ticketline.co.uk/mfdf-presents-the-liquor-market-in-association-with-the-drinks-enthusiast

For a full list of the exhibitors, please visit http://drinksenthusiast.com/liquormarket/

The Liquor Market – Saturday 27th September – Elixir Tonics & Treats, 123 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BY

Two sessions of 12-2:30pm and 3:30-6pm, £10 per person per session.

Follow the Liquor Market on Twitter @LiquorMarket and Facebook at Liquor Market

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

*Shrub

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.

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

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