Hi-Spirits Breaks Out The Brands For London Cocktail Week

Southern Comfort hits the streets for LCW
Hi-Spirits will be celebrating the capital’s booming cocktail culture by putting some of the biggest brands in its portfolio in the spotlight during London Cocktail Week.

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the classic Italian Fratelli Branca liqueur range will all be featured, with the cocktail cognoscenti able to enjoy a range of £6 drinks at selected bars throughout LCW, which runs from October 2 – 8.

Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca will be offering a programme of masterclasses during the week at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar, which will be located this year at the Looking Glass Cocktail Club in Shoreditch.

VIP hosts for the classes will be Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace master blender, and Nicola Olianas, World brand ambassador for Fratelli Branca. Along with an opportunity to taste the 2017 release of the five-strong Buffalo Taste Antique Collection, there will be a special masterclass featuring cocktails made with the Antique Collection and vintage Carpano Vermouth.

Other classes will spotlight the Pappy Van Winkle bourbons from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, and the full range of premium brands from the Fratelli Branca distillery in Italy. With limited spaces available and demand expected to be high, bar trade professionals can sign up at http://www.BuffaloTrace.co.uk/BBE

The Spitalfields Market Village cocktail hub will host the Southern Quarter, celebrating the true Spirit of New Orleans. Inspired by the city’s French Quarter, the bar will be welcoming cocktail lovers with a selection of delicious Southern Comfort cocktails paired with freshly-cooked Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka will also feature in the Spitalfields Market Village, with the Tito’s Texan Mule Cart bringing a Texan twist to the classic mule cocktail. Tito’s, the Vodka for Dog People, will be supporting the Guide Dogs Foundation, giving £1 from every cocktail purchased to the charity. MASH and Off Broadway are also giving £1 from every Tito’s drink sold to the Guide Dogs, with Tito’s matching the funds raised.

Partner bars around London will be offering exclusive £6 cocktails throughout the week. Buffalo Trace will be at Vaults of Soho, Fat Bear, Benares, Four Sisters, Four Sisters Town House, Barbecoa, and Basement Sate; Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be at Mash and Off Broadway; and Southern Comfort cocktails will feature at Hoxley & Porter, Quaglinos, Bermondsey Yard Café, Salvador and Amanda, Kansas Smitty’s, Stillwater and Bobo Social.

For those looking to chill out between cocktails, Our/London Vodka is taking up residence at Blixen in Spitalfields village, offering respite as well as free coffee, snacks and WiFi access for trade wristband holders. There will also be an opportunity to try the newly launched range of Our/London Infusions.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “London is one of the world’s great cocktail cities, and we’re delighted to be featuring some of the iconic brands from our portfolio during London Cocktail Week.

“It’s especially exciting to be bringing Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca, two of the world’s greatest distilleries, together at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire, which will be a great opportunity for bar professionals to learn more about the heritage and skills of both.

“With cocktail sales booming in UK pubs and bars, London Cocktail Week is a great showcase for our national cocktail culture, and so we’re delighted to be right at the heart of the action again this year.”

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St-Germain Is Bringing A French Touch To The Oxo Tower Bar’s Terrace

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St-Germain is bringing a splash of joyful decadence to the OXO Tower Bar’s Terrace this September.

In celebration of the thousands of elderflowers harvested to create the unique elderflower liqueur, St-Germain has partnered with Harvey Nichols in a terrace takeover welcoming guests through its doors until Tuesday 31 October.

The takeover will capture the spirit of Les Années Folles with delicious St-Germain cocktails artfully crafted in collaboration with Paulius Patumsis from the OXO Tower Bar team and Camille Ralph Vidal, Global Brand Ambassador. The Terrace will be brought to life with a foliage wall, created by Emily Baylis, floral designer and founder of ‘June in March,’ making the space the perfect spot to enjoy St-Germain cocktails this autumn, surrounded by stunning views of London’s skyline. A St-Germain camera will be on hand to help guests capture the evening, providing each customer with a Polaroid picture to take home.

St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur is the world’s first French liqueur made from delicate elderflower blossoms, handpicked at the height of their beauty during a maddeningly ephemeral growing season once a year.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/StGermainUK/

St-Germain take over the OXO Tower Bar’s terrace Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, South Bank, London SE1 9PH from Friday 1 September – Tuesday 31 October

Hard Rock Cafe Want To Spritz Up Your Summer!

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Hard Rock Cafe have brought out their latest cocktail creations for the Summer season, focusing on the ever-popular Spritz, twisting them with familiar names such as Bombay Sapphire, Jack Daniel’s, Grey Goose and Chambord.

Kick-start with my personal favourite of the ‘Jack and Diane’ that see’s Jack Daniel’s Old No.7 combined with Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and topped with lemonade for a bold hit of whiskey and orange. A close second for me is the ‘Chambord Supernova’ that see’s Chambord blended with St Germaine elderflower and topped with Prosecco, soda and a lemon twist. Rich, refreshing and offers a long finish!

A fantastic Grey Goose offering in ‘Good Limes, Bad Limes’ is available, showing the flavours of St Germaine elderflower, fresh limes, Prosecco and soda, whilst the ‘Thyme Warp’ offers a highlight of the Bombay Sapphire experience with fresh lemon juice and tonic, with a sprig of thyme to bring out the fresh aromas.

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The two other Bombay Sapphire creations include ‘Gin Ginie’ that see’s the bolder profiles of Chambord mixed with the British gin and bitter lemon, topped with a sprig of mint, whilst the ‘My Gineration’ focuses on the gin with orange juice, tonic and plenty of orange peel for garnish.

Six refreshing serves, priced between £9.45 and £9.95, served up, if you wish, within a Hard Rock souvenir mason jar (for £11.80) whilst rocking out in the sunshine (or what’s left of it) on their terrace. And if you’ve ever read my previous features on Hard Rock Cafe’s food offerings, you’ll know you can make an afternoon of it!

Jack & Diane with a Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger for me. I’ll see you at the bar.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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 Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress Launches ‘Bassano Aperitivo Season’

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Pop-up innovators Bassano Events and their Manchester venue, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress located on First Street, are launching a tasting calendar of Italian aperitivo over the next two months.

Focusing on Distilleria Nardini, the namesake of the bar name Bassano with its origins from Bassano del Grappa in Northern Italy, guests will enjoy one of the famous serves originating from the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge distillery, the Mezzoemezzo, itself combined with soda and a twist of lemon. A closer look at the flavour profiles of Nardini Grappa Bianca 40 and a selection of their liqueurs, including the citrus peels of Acqua di Cedro, juniper led Ginepro and the almond profiles of Mandorla.

Each session looks to finish with a refreshing Nardini Ginepro and Tonic, as well as a classic offering of Italian Antipasto courtesy of PizzaExpress.

Each hosted by Dave Marsland, co-owner of Bassano Events and brand agency Drinks Enthusiast, the Bassano Aperitivo Season is said to demystify the Italian spirit category, showing off the tradition of grappa and aperitivo and its versatile use within simple mixers and flavours.

All sessions will be held within The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, itself opening in June 2017 to bring the modern Italian cocktail bar concept to the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Dates of the Bassano Aperitivo Season;

18th August
25th August
31st August
7th September
21st September
28th September

Price;
£15 pp – tickets can be purchased in venue or via http://www.thebassanobar.com

General Opening Hours;
Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Address;
The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

#BassanoMcr

ALL DRINK IMAGERY BY GEORGIE GLASS/ WWW.GEORGIEGLASS.CO.UK / @GEORGIEGLASS_

Flor De Caña ‘Rum Frontiers’ Showcases In Glasgow

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Flor de Caña discovered the new UK ‘Rum Frontier’ Champion on Monday night, as guests basked in the electric vibes of Nicaragua enjoying street food, Flor de Caña cocktails, live street art and a world renowned DJ in one of Glasgow’s best loved venues, Drygate.

Featuring an incredible line-up of first class mixologists from all across the country, each finalist pushed the creative boundaries of cocktail making to the edge in a live heat where they were challenged to design innovative cocktails inspired by the exotic home of Flor de Caña rum. The cocktails were fashioned around many areas of Nicaraguan culture, from its world famous coffee beans to the unique and vibrant art that fills the streets, the volcano which Flor de Caña’s own distillery sits at and the fact that the country is run on 58% clean, renewable energy.

Ten finalists battled it out to be crowned the #RumFrontiers UK winner and get their hands on the coveted prize: a trip of a lifetime to Nicaragua where the winner will represent the UK in the worldwide final as well as enjoying incredible tours of Nicaragua’s top attractions.

The winning cocktail blew away the judging panel, boasting an incredibly diverse and creative skillset from bartender Ryan Rhodes of Dusk in Aberdeen. Named Lava Flava, Ryan’s drink was inspired by the artist Scott Lambeck and his colourful interpretation of Nicaragua which adorned the sides of the glass. Ryan described his cocktail as a drink which he felt reflected Nicaragua; vibrant, fun and playful.

As well as the excitement of live heats, earlier in the day attendees enjoyed a masterclass run by two of the esteemed judges: Daryl Haldane (Head of Brand Experience, Whyte & Mackay) and Tristan Stephenson (The Curious Bartender). Also tasked with judging the cocktail creations were the highly-regarded Andy Gemmell (The Drinks Cabinet) and Marc Catalan (Flor de Caña).

Jonathan Gillbanks (UK Sales Director – On Trade & Specialists, Whyte and Mackay) said: “RumFrontiers was a fantastic event; we witnessed some of the most exciting bartenders from the UK come together to learn and create with Flor de Caña premium rum. The creations from the competitors were truly outstanding.”

Ryan will experience six days of adventure in Nicaragua this September, including sand-boarding on the active Cerro Negro Volcano before spending the night in the historic city of Leon. He will then return to Managua for an exclusive tour of the Flor de Caña distillery ahead of the world wide #RumFrontiers final. The remainder of the trip will be packed full of excursions including a visit to the Masaya Volcano, Masaya Artisan Market and Apoyo Lake. There will also be a City Tour of Granada along with a trip to a private island before returning home.

Patrón Perfectionists Come Out To Play In Bristol

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The team at Patrón came around to Bristol last week to host the next round of the current programme, the Patrón Perfectionist!

Hosted at Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the competitors found their way to the South West heat by offering a unique Patrón serve, worthy of impressing the judging panel and ultimately winning a place in the final, held in London later in the year.

Hailing from the likes of Dirty Martini in Cardiff, Be At One in Bournemouth and Salt Room in Brighton, the competitors were joined by UK Brand Ambassador Karine Tillard as they re-created their serve to the panel of myself, Karine and last-years South West winner Steven Young of Academy Espresso Bar in Barry.

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The top three will be showcased here today, so in third place saw Brighton represent with Jake Goldstein of Plotting Parlour. His ‘Commin Mathca’ saw him combine Patrón Silver, sustainable sherbet, pretzel syrup, matcha green tea and aquafaba together, complete with a garnish of a tiny pretzel and matcha.

Ben Alcock of host venue HMSS earned second place with his creation, ‘Beez-Ness Thyme’. A sour styled drink that saw Patrón Reposado, bee mix (honey, Aquavit, burgamot, fig, salt and absinthe), lemon juice, aquafaber and chickpea water, it came garnished with a simple twist of a lemon peel.

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The winning serve though came from Chelsie Bailey of Red Light in Bristol. Named ‘El Camienzo Perfecto’, it saw Patrón Reposado, pineapple sherbet, cream, lime juice and egg white, topped with Mexican lager, dehydrated chilli and pineapple leaves.

So congratulations to Chelsie, who wins herself a trip to London to compete in the final against the other finalists from around the UK!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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 Juniper Bar To Add Colour To King George VI Weekend At Ascot

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Racegoers can look forward to bringing their own splash of colour to the King George VI Weekend at Ascot Racecourse this year (Friday 28th and Saturday 29th July) with a new selection of colourful customisable cocktails available from The Juniper Garden Gin Bar in the Queen Anne Enclosure at the race meeting.

Using the classic Collins cocktail as inspiration and with the help of bar staff, guests will be able to customise the gin-based long drink with an array of colourful flavours. Choices include a green burst of lemon & lime, the orange zest of Aperol, a purple tone using Chambord’s black raspberry liquor and a pale pink blush created by adding rhubarb syrup.

Juliet Slot, Commercial Director, Ascot Racecourse said, “The King George VI Weekend is a vibrant summer meeting, full of history, style and colour. This year we have extended this to our cocktail menu giving racegoers the opportunity to create their own signature cocktail in a colour that suits their mood.”

Combining world-class Flat racing with a quintessential English garden party experience, the King George VI Weekend is one of the most prestigious race meetings at Ascot outside of the Royal Meeting. It is an unmissable event steeped in history and synonymous with style that celebrates the best of British summer. Saturday 29th July, King George Day itself, is one of the most famous single racedays in Europe. The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) is the feature race, and the European mid-season middle distance championship after which the two-day meeting is named, commemorating Her Majesty The Queen’s late parents. It is regarded as Europe’s premier midseason middle-distance championship race for horses of both sexes and all ages.

Queen Anne Enclosure tickets start from £18 and King Edward VII Enclosure tickets from £23 if booked in advance. Children under 18 are free when accompanied by an adult. Fine Dining starts from £147+VAT. Available upgrades include a private Gazebo in the Old Paddock or entry to the Marquee Club or Furlong Club, both within the Queen Anne Enclosure, with prices starting from just £30, excluding a Queen Anne Enclosure ticket.

Please note that the Winning Post Enclosure, open on Saturday 29th July 2017, is now SOLD OUT. There is remaining availability in the King Edward VII and Queen Anne Enclosures.

For further information and to book visit https://www.ascot.co.uk/horse-races-and-events/king-george/saturday, call 0844 346 3000 or email hospitality@ascot.co.uk.

Chivas Regal Raises A Toast To Atsushi Suzuki

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Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has crowned Atsushi Suzuki from the Sober
Company in Shanghai, China, the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion. Over a challenging five-day finale in Tokyo, Japan, Atsushi overcame strong competition from 14 of the world’s most skilled bartenders and led the winning Chivas Masters Collective team to victory, before being declared the overall champion.

The fourth Chivas Masters Global Final required the 15 national winners to showcase the
Chivas Regal values of brotherhood, collaboration and generosity. Atsushi impressed the expert panel of judges by expressing these core principles as he proved the outstanding contestant in what was a highly captivating and memorable final, culminating in the awards ceremony at the MIXX Bar & Lounge at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

A Japanese native himself, Atsushi fully embraced the traditions of Japanese bartending culture throughout a week of individual and team challenges, which included four individual drinks-making rounds. Atsushi’s winning team drinks ritual was The Double Talk, which was made using Chivas Regal 12, and presented with a focus on Japanese craftsmanship, kind service and attention to detail. Inspired by the way in which great drinks can bring people together and cross language barriers, he collaborated with his Mexican and Hong Kong team-mates, and was mentored by hospitality industry pioneer and team sensei Iain Griffiths, to devise a ritual which ensured the drink was designed to be shared, and allowed the drink to be adapted and personalised for different countries around the world.

As the newly crowned 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion, Atsushi has won an all-access, all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of The Cocktail 2017 in New Orleans. The winning Chivas Masters Collective team led by Atsushi – comprising Mexico’s Haydée Barron Flores and Ryan Nightingale from Hong Kong – walked away with the pinnacle of the range, Chivas Regal The Icon, presented in a bespoke decanter with customised Japanese glassware.

Upon being crowned champion, Atsushi commented: “Wow. It is such an honour to receive this – and in my home town too. I feel like it’s a win for Japan as well as for China. And of course it’s not just for me, but for my awesome team of Haydée and Ryan, and my sensei, Iain. I’ve found friends for the rest of my life through the Chivas Masters – and I’ve learnt how to be a better bartender too.”

Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal, commented from Tokyo: “The Chivas Masters Global Final has again shown the world the wonderful values and principles that great bartending can harness. Atsushi fully took the Chivas Regal spirit of generosity and collaboration with him into the final, which was the eventual point of difference in a very tough field – alongside, of course, some spectacular bartending skills.

“Beyond the serve itself, teamwork and collaboration are just as crucial to the craft of drinks-making, and we have witnessed that here today, and throughout the entire contest. That is why we are also delighted to honour the entire winning Chivas Masters Collective, who helped lead our champion to victory and demonstrated that success really does taste better shared.”

The 2017 Chivas Masters Global Final was host to a distinguished panel of internationally
acclaimed judges: Iain Griffiths, hospitality industry pioneer and co-founder of Mr Lyan Ltd;
Micah Melton, beverage director at the Alinea Group and renowned ‘ice chef’; Chris Lowder, ‘New York’s Rising Star Bartender’ in 2015; Dré Masso, ex-director of bars for the Potato Head Group in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong; and Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, owner of Tokyo’s Tram & Trench. Each not only scored the finalists, but also shared their insights and expertise through a series of inspirational masterclasses over the course of the week.

The evening also saw the first ever Chivas Masters Global Champion, Masa Urushido,
honoured as a Grand Master, in his native Japan.

THE DOUBLE TALK

40ml Chivas Regal 12
20ml Campari
20ml Bianco Vermouth

Garnished with Matcha Tea Salt – or customised to your country

Stirred and served over block ice in a rocks glass, with a side serve for sharing

 

The Chivas Masters Collective teams:

Team leader: Atsushi Suzuki, China

Team member: Haydée Barron Flores, Mexico

Team member: Ryan Nightingale, Hong Kong

 

Team leader: Hyacinthe Lescoët, France

Team member: Daniel Huggins, Germany

Team member: Patryk Biadacz, Poland

 

Team leader: Masato Sakurai, Japan

Team member: Sandra Šalatová, Czech Republic

Team member: Aloisek Rodríguez Martínez, Cuba

 

Team leader: Roger Grüter, Switzerland

Team member: Abner Barrientos, Puerto Rico

Team member: Wouter Bosch, The Netherlands

 

Team leader: Adam Schmidt, USA

Team member: Benjamin Boyce, United Arab Emirates

Team member: Rhys Wilson, United Kingdom

Beefeater MIXLDN 2017 Bartending Competition Open for Entries!

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The seventh annual Beefeater MIXLDN Bartending competition is now open for entries! Beefeater Gin is from London and is of London, and is still made in the capital today. Bartenders love it because of its unparalleled quality and versatility in cocktails. For this year’s MIXLDN, bartenders are being asked to create a new cocktail that best encapsulates the spirit of the city they live in, using Beefeater Dry or Beefeater 24.

With the popularity of gin at an all-time high, the world’s biggest gin cocktail competition is set to be the most hotly contested yet, with entries expected from over 30 countries around the world. The winner will be crowned Beefeater MIXLDN 7 Global Champion and will receive the opportunity to create their very own Beefeater Gin at the distillery in Kennington, London, under the guidance of Master Distiller Desmond Payne.

Sumaiyah Connolly, Beefeater Global Brand Ambassador, comments: “As my first year as Global Brand Ambassador, I’m incredibly excited to announce the return of MIXLDN. It’s a competition in which I’ve been involved in the past when I was working with bartenders in Cape Town, South Africa. Bartenders love it because MIXLDN goes against the grain and has always done things a little differently whilst maintaining its credibility since its beginning. A roll call of the six brilliant, previous champions alone, shows you the calibre of talent involved from around the world. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store from the world of bartending.”

Entrants should submit a cocktail recipe concept and its inspiration to the Beefeater MIXLDN website (www.beefeatermixldn.com) before 31st August, 2017. A selection of bartenders will then be invited to the national final to demonstrate their concept to both local and international gin experts – including Beefeater Global Brand Ambassadors Sebastian Hamilton-Mudge and Sumaiyah Connolly.

Chivas Regal Announces The 15 National Winners Who Will Compete In Global Final

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Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has revealed the 15 national winners who will compete to be crowned the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion, at the Chivas Masters Global Final taking place next month in Tokyo.

Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Final (1st – 5th July) will focus for the first time on the celebrated traditions of Tokyo’s bartending scene – whose unique cocktail customs continue to fascinate and inspire bartenders across the world. Throughout the week, the contestants will take part in a number of individual and team challenges, and will need to showcase both exemplary bartending skills and team spirit to impress the judges.

The 15 finalists, who have each excelled in their national competitions running across four continents, will be hosted in Tokyo by Masahiro Urushido, the first ever Chivas Masters Global Champion. They will be mentored by a distinguished panel of internationally-acclaimed judges, who will share their expertise through a series of inspirational masterclasses. The panel comprises:

– Iain Griffiths, hospitality industry pioneer and co-founder of Mr Lyan Ltd;
– Micah Melton, beverage director at the Alinea Group (Aviary Chicago & NY) and renowned ‘ice chef’;
– Chris Lowder, spirits evangelist and ‘New York’s Rising Star Bartender 2015’ (StarChefs);
– Dré Masso, ex-director of bars for the Potato Head Group in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong; worldwide Cocktail Mentor and spirit creator
– Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, owner of Tokyo’s Tram & Trench, celebrating the modern interpretation of Japanese bartending

Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal, comments: “Our 15 national winners have already hugely impressed us with both their skill and character, but there’s still much more to do if they want to be crowned our 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion. The values of community, collaboration and generosity lie at the very heart of this competition, and successful participants must not only impress a world-renowned panel of judges, but demonstrate that they embody these values every step of the way.”

The Chivas Masters cocktail competition is built on Chivas’ belief that great bartending is measured not only by the achievements of an individual, but by the ability to work in harmony with others. The ultimate winner will not only impress with their individual bartending skills, but – crucially – will also prove their ability to work collaboratively with an international bartending team, and inspire others to achieve shared success, through the Chivas Masters Collective team challenge.

Max Warner continues: “I cannot wait to put our contestants through their paces in Tokyo, and see who will walk away with the 2017 title – and beyond that, watch as they, together with their Chivas Masters Collective, take what they have learned to further develop and inspire their bartending communities back home.”

The 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion will be decided on the evening of Wednesday 5th July, and will win an all-access, all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of The Cocktail 2017 in New Orleans. The winning Chivas Masters Collective team will walk away with the pinnacle of the range, Chivas Regal The Icon, presented in a bespoke decanter with customised Japanese glassware.