Dead Rabbit v Artesian: Martini & Rossi World Cocktail Bar Championship

Martini & Rossi



In May 2014 the 2 best bars in the world from the 2 cocktail capitals in the UK and USA, Artesian bar at the Langham Hotel from London and Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog from New York, went head-to-head to battle for the illustrious title of the Martini & Rossi World Cocktail Bar Champion. Sponsored by world-famous vermouth, Martini, the innovative contest took place in New York’s financial district and included 3 fighting rounds of cocktail creation and fiercely competitive barmanship.


Carrying the pride of their country on their shoulders, Artesian was represented by award-winning mixologists Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale, who went mix-to-mix and shaker-to-shaker in cocktail combat against Jack McGarry and Bobby Hiddleston from Dead Rabbit.

Fuelling the across-the-pond rivalry, both teams had the audience and judges captivated throughout the energetic competition with entertainment including firecrackers and cabaret outfits. A unique mix of ingredients was also used in combat, including everything from Palma ham, Pessione cedarwood syrup to Orinoco bitters.


Round 1 involved the full team from both bars creating a punch inspired by Jerry P Thomas’ famous vermouth cocktail. Serving 60, Artesian created the standout BUGS BUNNY WAITING TO BECOME DEAD RABBIT, while Dead Rabbit served an exceptional BUNNY PUNCH, both which were judged on originality, presentation and refreshment.
Round 2 featured a speed challenge with 1 bartender from each team undertaking some of the trade’s most complex and iconic cocktails including the Americano, Negroni Sbagliato, Bobby Burns, Tipperary and Floridita #3. With a composite list of ingredients and definitive process, extra points were gained for observance of the original recipe, depth of flavour and time.

Finally, the concluding round was creativity. Contenders were challenged to create an aperitif that was judged on its originality, taste, refreshment, presentation and of course, creativity.


Although it was close, the exceptional ability and creativity of Kratena and Caporale, Artesian earned them the title of crowned the Martini & Rossi World Cocktail Bar Champion. However this acclaimed accolade was only narrowly missed out on by hosting Dead Rabbit bartenders McGarry and Hiddleston and there is already talk of a rematch.

Giuseppe Gallo, MARTINI Global Brand Ambassador and one for the 4 judges commented, “MARTINI is all about innovation, excellence and style, and all three things were seen in excess during this competition. I have never been to a competition with quite as much raw talent on show. Watching the best mixologists in the world entertain the crowd, mix phenomenal concoctions and have so much fun is a priceless experience!”

Two UK Bartending Superstars Win Colombia Lifetime Experience

Walter Pintus of The Ritz, LaHechiceraWinner2

Alex Lawrence from Orchid bar in Aberdeen and Walter Pintus from The Rivoli Bar at The Ritz London have been selected from over 60 entrants to win one of the most intrepid prizes in cocktailing history. As the two winners of La Hechicera Rum’s #WanderlustColombia challenge, they will go to live and work in the vibrant and exotic capital of Colombia for a full month, later this year.
They will fly to the capital Bogota, and also travel to Cartagena the fashionable Caribbean city. A bespoke programme hosted by the Riascos family will immerse them in the bar-life of both cities’ most prestigious bars. Accommodation and salary will be paid during the month. The visit will also include blending their own rum with the Maestro Ronero (master blender) of La Hechicera.

The hotly contested grand final took place with 15 competing finalists at MASH in London on 7 April 2014, cheered on by their peers. Co-founder Miguel Riascos arrived from Colombia to judge the final and commented, “We were very excited to host such a range of finalists, from popular bars through to 5-star hotel bars. All showed inspired and creative originality, and many were keen to challenge convention. Our judging panel was treated with
unexpected flavour combinations, adventurous mixing with exotic rare fresh ingredients and the results of refined techniques such as dry-smoking. At the end of the day, the winning cocktails were judged on taste.”

Winner 1 – Alex Lawrence, Orchid bar in Aberdeen

Lady Colombia

60ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Martini Extra Dry
5 ml Mozart Dark Chocolate Liqueur
5 ml maple syrup
2 dashes house blend bitter, pinch of sea salt

Stir over ice and strain into an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with lemon zest.

Winner 2 – Walter Pintus. The Rivoli Bar. The Ritz London

The Rum Baroness

50ml La Hechicera Rum
20ml Tintilla De Rota fortified wine
10ml maple syrup blended with Tahitian vanilla beans and
Egyptian chamomile blossoms, house-made cocoa bitters
3 drops of cocoa oil

Stir over ice and strain into a large stemless wine glass.
Garnish with fresh caviar lime and serve with chocolate truffles

Winners Announced At The Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition At The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show

Chairman's Reserve Final

Wednesday the 19th saw the final of the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition, staged at the Drinks Live Theatre in the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester which, with over 250 exhibitors and 50 tastings and events, has become the largest food and drink trade exhibition in the North.

With an expert judging panel in Mark Ludmon, Editor of Bar Magazine, Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club, Manchester and Scott Wallace of Emporia Brands, each judge looked for knowledge on the Chairman’s Reserve brand, the appearance and presentation of the drink, the aromas of the cocktail and finally how it tasted.

Six bartenders were invited down to the main stage to recreate their drink, after being selected from the initial entries by Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, and Steven James of Rum Diaries.

Impressing the three judges, and winning himself a trip to St Lucia as the guest of St Lucia Distillers, was Adam Binnersley of Corridor #UnderNewManagement, Salford. His recipe, ‘Chairman’s Moo’, utilising Chairman’s Reserve Finest, Briottet fig, honey and pistachio syrup, Angostura Bitters and buttermilk fought off stiff competition from his fellow competitors. His presentation also made headlines, utilising a ‘cow’ to help serve his drink.

Thom Hetherington, MD of Northern Restaurant & Bar, said “This show is all about celebrating the best of the Northern food and drink world, and in Adam I think we have an absolute star. I don’t doubt he’ll hold his own in St Lucia!” Hetherington added “Needless to say I’ll be in to see him at Corridor #UnderNewManagement and put the Chairman’s Moo to the test for myself very soon”.

Despite only advertising the one opportunity to win a trip to St Lucia, the judges mentioned that it was an incredibly close call between first and second, so it was decided by James Rackham, Chairman of Emporia Brands, the UK Distributor of St Lucia Distillers, that second placed Tom Higham of Kosmonaut would also be joining Adam to St Lucia. His ‘Luciana Helena’ had a mix of Chairman’s Reserve Finest, pineapple and sage syrup, smoked paprika syrup, lime, egg white and Peychaud bitters.

Host and organiser of the competition Dave Marsland, aka Drinks Enthusiast and Northern Representative of Emporia Brands, mentioned “It’s great to see that the entries were so close that we are able to take two winners to St Lucia. They both join me for what will be an incredible experience, and we look forward to representing Manchester!”

A huge congratulations to both Adam and Tom, who will be visiting St Lucia later in the year and experience rum training at the distinguished distillery, and the chance to share expertise with the island’s enthusiastic bartenders, as well as plenty of opportunity to find out why the beautiful island of St Lucia is one of the world’s favourite Caribbean destinations.

Finalists Included:

Emma Andrew – 99 Hanover Street Bar, Edinburgh
Amir Javaid – Epernay, Manchester
Adrian Calderbank – The Church Green, Lymm
Adam Binnersley – Corridor, Salford
Adam Day – The Violet Hour, Didsbury
Tom Higham – Kosmonaut, Manchester

Chairman’s Moo – created by Adam Binnersley, Corridor #UnderNewManagment

40 ml Chairman’s Reserve
10 ml Briottet Fig
15 ml Honey and Pistachio Syrup
Angostura Bitters
50 ml Buttermilk

Luciana Helena – created by Tom Higham, Kosmonaut

50 ml Chairman’s Reserve Finest
30 ml Pineapple and sage shrub
15 ml Smoke paprika syrup
25 ml Lime
Dash of Egg white
Dash Peychauds Bitters

Jura Welcomes You To The Story Season

Jura Lodge

Jura are celebrating great storytellers in all forms throughout their Story Season campaign. In light of this, Art Wednesday have created a video featuring innovative graphic designer, Noma Bar, discussing his inspiration and daily life.

Jura Whisky is searching for other remarkable stories in 1000 characters or less to showcase as they search for the worlds best story, and their favourites will be illustrated along the way. One lucky winner though will receive an all-expenses paid VIP trip to Jura and will be staying in the distilleries lodge; a beautifully grand 5 bedroom retreat on the Island of 170 inhabitants. George Orwell referred to Jura as “the most un-get-able place on earth” whilst writing 1984 there.

Click here for more information on the competition.

The Kraken Rum Searches For Cocktails ‘As Dark As A Kraken’s Ink’


This October The Kraken Rum is opening the world’s most bizarre pop-up bar, which can be found on board The Redsand Sea Forts located 9 miles off the coast of Kent.

The Kraken Rum is offering bartenders the chance to be part of a unique, if terrifying, experience. The brand’s Think Ink cocktail competition is seeking to find a Kraken Rum cocktail as a dark as the Kraken’s ink, a drink worthy of being served in the Black Ink Society’s one-day-only pop-up bar on the historic forts.

Open to interpretation, bartenders taking part in the competition are invited to interpret the ‘dark’ brief either literally or figuratively. Kraken hunting can be a maverick game and the only rule is that Kraken Rum must be the primary ingredient with at least 35ml included.

Not only does the winner have the chance serve their cocktail to press and VIP’s at the pop-up bar on board the forts, they also win a coveted prize given to only the most fearsome of Kraken hunters…

The Kraken Rum Edible Autopsy will also be held on the forts and will see invited guests feasting on the remains of a Kraken corpse as it is dissected in front of their eyes. Following this, a film of the autopsy, and remains of the corpse, will be displayed at The Kraken Rum supported event ‘Feed The Beast’ – a rum-based extreme cake pop-up from with the infamous Eat Your Heart Out food artists’ network.
The competition will take place at Happiness Forgets, Hoxton Square, London on Tuesday 8th October – anyone interested in taking part should email, for full details and competition T&C’s.