Unwrapped – The Other Side of Bartending


William Grant & Sons’ UK Brand Ambassador team will be hosting the first ever Unwrapped: The Other Side of Bartending event in Edinburgh on 29th October. This event, exclusively for bartenders, features a series of talks aiming to support modern bartenders find their legacy within the industry and equip them with tools, knowledge and insights beyond jiggers and shakers. This will be followed by immersive brand experiences and an evening bar takeover where all proceeds will go to charity partner SANE.

Unwrapped’s focus is centered on Brand Ambassador-led talks, designed to be thought-provoking, engaging and specifically relevant to the on-trade; providing attendees with new skills and perspectives, as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and old friends. Sessions will cover subjects ranging from how to keep up team morale and the power of storytelling, to exploring the link between nature and creativity. Following the talks, Alessandra Brugola from the drinks industry charity, The Benevolent, will introduce their latest campaign #notalone.

Unwrapped will be held at Assembly Roxy, and will include immersive brand experiences in the afternoon – from entering the miniscule yet momentous world of Hendrick’s Gin Tini Martinis to making and photographing Monkey Shoulder’s Lazy Old Fashioned.

On Monday evening, a full William Grant & Sons bar takeover at The Voyage of Buck will take place, where the entire UK Brand Ambassador team will get behind the bar to raise money for SANE. The charity partner was chosen by the Brand Ambassadors due to its focus on mental health – a key topic within the bar industry.

Cocktails on the night will include:

The Disaronno Cherry Apple – Disaronno, fermented cherry, 30/40 and soda. Created by Three Sheets, London.
The Balvenie Pina Colada Specs – The Balvenie Caribbean Cask, Coco Lopez, pineapple Juice, cream, milk and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Fabiano Latham, Reyka Vodka UK Brand Ambassador says: “Unwrapped is a great opportunity for all the brand ambassadors to share experiences and insights from the industry, as well as the passion we have for our brands. We want to create a benchmark for industry training programmes by delivering an engaging and interactive event where on-trade teams can come together and truly benefit in years to come.”

Lachlan Rooney, Manager at The Voodoo Rooms Bar says: “The William Grant & Sons team is coming to town with what looks to be one of the most incredible series of seminars to grace the city since Tales on Tour. Bartenders best bring a notepad and pen for the series of talks and activities that could truly make a tangible difference to a career and the local bar community. From practical engagements to empathetic advice on building yourself as a brand, the event covers every aspect of bartending that you’ve never even thought about. With free food, drinks and transport alongside priceless career advice it’s not one to miss out on.”

Unwrapped agenda: Monday 29th October

UK Brand Ambassador Talks 11:00-15:30

Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador to Scotland presents: The power of storytelling
Fabiano Latham, Reyka UK Brand Ambassador presents: Adventurivity – exploring the link between nature and creativity
EmmaLi Stenhouse, Sailor Jerry UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to be your world’s best bartender
Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to train your nose
John Wayte, Monkey Shoulder UK Brand Ambassador presents: /bar:ography/
Sasha Filimonov, Hendrick’s Gin UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to be newsworthy
Calum Fraser, Premium Spirits Specialist presents: Keeping good spirits in good spirits
Rod Elsamieh, Disaronno UK Brand Ambassador presents: From bartender to bar owner – the tips and tricks to opening your own bar
Stephanie Rainbow, Tia Maria UK Brand Ambassador presents: The courage to be happy
Alessandra Brugola from The Benevolent will introduce their new campaign #notalone

Brand Experiences 15:30-16:30

To attend, please email wgsuk.events@wgrant.com or speak to one of the BA team

Takeover at The Voyage of Buck, 19:00 till 11pm

WG&S Takeover with the UK Brand Ambassadors behind the bar with all proceeds taken over the course of the evening being donated to charity partner, SANE. The party is open to everyone, 18 years old and over.

Disaronno Partners with Famed Roberto Cavalli to Outfit Limited Edition Bottles


DISARONNO, the world’s favourite Italian liqueur, will be back this holiday season with a unique new look designed by Roberto Cavalli. The luxury brand has dressed the iconic bottle in the bold, vibrant and colourful style, for which it is famous throughout the world.

The DISARONNO wears Cavalli design draws inspiration from the Roberto Cavalli SS 2015 Pre Collection. Influenced by the enchanting undersea world and the most exotic safari locations, the bottle will be draped in a new graphic animal print making DISARONNO the perfect gift for fashion lovers this winter. 

Augusto Reina, CEO of ILLVA Saronno, declared: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Roberto Cavalli for our third Disaronno limited edition. To include Cavalli in the list of our collaborations is a real honour and a truly special moment in the history of our brand.”

“We are excited to join ILLVA Saronno in this initiative. Two of the most well-known brands of the Made in Italy getting together is always worth celebrating”, said Renato Semerari, CEO of Roberto Cavalli.

The DISARONNO ICON project is in its 3rd iteration this year, after the past partnerships with Italian fashion brands Moschino and Versace. The ICON project will continue its longtime support of the charity ‘Fashion 4 Development,’ sponsored by the United Nations. DISARONNO will once again donate part of the proceeds to the development of this unique project in Africa. The exclusive limited edition will be available from the beginning of October in all major stores across the UK. The suggested retail price is £15 for the 500ml bottle.

To toast this delightful collaboration Disaronno US Director of Brand Ambassadors, Paul Sevigny, and Disaronno UK Brand Ambassador, Rod Eslamieh, have joined forces to craft the Disaronno WEARS Cavalli Sour, a unique twist on the famed Disaronno Sour. The duo have applied the most popular trends in mixology to develop this signature sip, blending the sweet flavour of DISARONNO with sharp lemon juice, sugar syrup, topped off with prosecco and a few dashes of angostura bitters.

DISARONNO Wears Cavalli Sour
DISARONNO Wears Cavalli Sour

The ‘DISARONNO wears Cavalli Sour’ cocktail, created for the occasion blends the sweet flavour of DISARONNO, with sharp lemon juice, sugar syrup, topped off with prosecco and a few dashes of angostura bitters – full recipe below.

  • 1 ½ oz Disaronno
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Sugar syrup
  • 1 ½ oz Prosecco
  • 10 dashes angostura

Disaronno Riserva; A New Luxury Limited Edition


Disaronno, the world’s favourite Italian liqueur, presents a very exclusive addition to its portfolio, Disaronno Riserva; a unique blend of Scottish whisky and Disaronno – aged in Marsala barrels from the Cantine Florio in Marsala, Sicily.

Produced by Augusto Reina, CEO of Illva Saronno, Disaronno Riserva is the result of an innovative and exciting idea created from a very unique combination; blended scotch whisky made from a select mix of different malts, and the aromatic notes of Disaronno; almond, toasted hazelnut and burnt honey.

The journey began in Speyside in the Scottish Highlands, known for producing Scotland’s lightest, sweetest single malts, where Mr Reina hand selected the perfect blend of whiskys to complement the exquisite flavours of Disaronno. On route back to Italy, the liqueur passes through Saronno, where the historical headquarters of Illva Saronno lie and Disaronno is produced. The final destination is the Cantine Florio winery; Sicily’s oldest and most beautiful winery, where the Riserva is then aged in old wooden Marsala casks dating back to 1938.

The result is an initially sweet touch of spice softened by light hints of vanilla-almond, with luscious fruity overtones and a finish that is peppery, recalling dried fruit with a touch of intriguing Madeira. It is perfect served neat, or on the rocks.

The Disaronno Riserva packaging takes inspiration from the iconic Disaronno bottle, but with a cleaner and more refined outline, and comes packaged in a beautiful sleek black wooden case. Only 10,000 bottles will be produced worldwide, and will be available from a selection of handpicked luxury retailers across the globe at an RRP of £250; definitely one for the connoisseurs.

Augusto Reina, CEO of Illva comments “I am honoured to present Disaronno Riserva It’s a product that is deeply rooted in the company’s ethos; research and innovation have always been the guiding principles in managing the family business, and it is these exact values that have made this new product truly unique. To make the product distinctive I decided to focus on how, and where it was created; being aged in the oak barrels Cantine Florio, brings it all back to the long standing history of the company. It has all come full circle.”

Disaronno Set To Raise Rooftops Again This Summer


Disaronno, the UK’s number one non-cream liqueur, has announced the return of its Disaronno Terrace series. Following a hugely successful launch in the UK last year, the 2015 campaign will kick off at London’s rooftop bar, Golden Bee, on Wednesday 24th June. The music based events launch in the capital before touring the cultural hotspots of Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The parties will be sound-tracked by live performances from some of the hottest new talent around, including Italian sing-songwriter Jack Savoretti and British vocalist Ghostpoet, who will both be taking to the decks in London on 24th June. Other headline acts at the Terrace parties include Dry The River and Mystery Jets. More artists will be announced shortly.

Last year’s Disaronno Terrace series was a great success, attracting thousands of cocktail lovers across the country. The events will showcase the brand and engage drinkers during the key summer sales period. The Terrace parties will focus on the brand’s signature serve, the Disaronno Sour, which is hugely popular with its loyal consumers but will also be demonstrating the versatility of the liquid by introducing some new cocktails.

The Terraces will kick start an exciting summer for the brand. Illva (brand owner for Disaronno) is heavily investing in Disaronno in the UK this year and will be revealing more impactful and new brand activations in the coming weeks.

Over the past five years, the Disaronno Terrace has made an international name for itself touring the likes of New York, Milan, Rome, Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam and Los Angeles.


24th June – Golden Bee

30th June – Golden Bee



8th July – Square Club

15th July – Square Club



29th July – The Oast House

5th August – The Oast House



19th August – Loft Bar

26th August – Loft Bar

Simone Rossi Takes Title Of Disaronno Mixing Star 2015


Following a tightly fought contest, Simone Rossi from Aqua, London has been crowned winner of this year’s Disaronno Mixing Star competition. His winning serve, The Innkeeper, was praised for its beautiful flavour combinations, along with the way in which the drink was presented.

The final, which was held at Nightjar in Shoreditch yesterday, witnessed ten of the on-trade’s most creative bartenders serve up some impressive Disaronno cocktails. Judging the contest were brand ambassador Rod Eslamieh, The Artesian’s Simone Caporale, Gary Sharpen of The Cocktail Lovers and 2014 Mixing Star finalist, Adrian Gomes. The judges based their scores on taste, technique, performance, presentation and knowledge of Disaronno.

The finalists were:

Simone Rossi – Aqua (London)
Giacomo Di Matteo – The Groucho Club (London)
Federico Pavan – Salvatore at Playboy (London)
Federico Gisbert Johnson – Hawksmoor Guildhall (London)
James Bowker – The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge (Birmingham)
William Wilson – Palm Sugar Lounge (Leeds)
Joe Macbeth – Rub Smokehouse & Bar (Nottingham)
Joe Nelson – Amicus Apple (Aberdeen)
Stephen Rutherford – Orchid (Aberdeen)
Ehren Khoo-Steel – The Blind Pig (Jersey)

Simone Rossi has won an all-expenses paid trip to the world’s premier drinks festival, Tales of the Cocktail. Runner up, James Bowker of The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge in Birmingham won an overnight stay at The Langham Hotel, including dinner and drinks at The Artesian for two.

This was the fifth year in which Disaronno has held its Mixing Star competition. This year witnessed the largest number of entries yet, with almost 200 applicants.

Disaronno Announces Elite Lineup For Mixing Star Final


Disaronno has announced its finalists for the 2015 Mixing Star competition. This year’s top ten line up of bartenders have created some exceptionally impressive recipes which will be served up at the London final at Nightjar on 1st June. The finalists are confirmed as:

  • Simone Rossi – Aqua (London)
  • Giacomo Di Matteo – The Groucho Club (London)
  • Federico Pavan – Salvatore at Playboy (London)
  • Federico Gisbert Johnson – Hawksmoor Guildhall (London)
  • James Bowker – The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel and Cocktail Lounge (Birmingham)
  • William Wilson – Palm Sugar Lounge (Leeds)
  • Joe Macbeth – Rub Smokehouse & Bar (Nottingham)
  • Joe Nelson – Amicus Apple (Aberdeen)
  • Stephen Rutherford – Orchid (Aberdeen)
  • Ehren Khoo-Steel – The Blind Pig (Jersey)

The 10 finalists will battle it out for the Mixing Star title and the top prize – an all-expenses paid trip to the world’s premier drinks festival, Tales of the Cocktail. The competition will be a two-part process, involving peer judging as well as bartenders taking the stage one-by-one to showcase their serve.

The 2015 finalists were selected by Disaronno Mixing Star judging panel; UK brand ambassador Rod Eslamieh, The Artesian’s Simone Caporale, Gary Sharpen of The Cocktail Lovers and 2014 Mixing Star finalist, Adrian Gomes.

William Grant & Sons UK Hosts Pilot ‘Winner Takes All’ Regional Cocktail Challenge Championing Bartenders

WTA winners

William Grant & Sons UK held an event at Reading based cocktail bar RYND last week, encouraging up and coming talent, outside of the capital, to showcase their skills. This first national Winner Takes All cocktail competition showed some amazing bartending talent whilst at the same time saw some of the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio of brands featured in original and inventive cocktails.

38 bartenders, grouped into 12 teams showcased their cocktail making skills and were judged by William Grant & Sons UK brand ambassadors from spirit brands: Sailor Jerry, Monkey Shoulder, Reyka and Disaronno. They were judged on the quality of their cocktail making skills from accuracy, to creativity and style. Participating bars competed for a complete back bar of spirits from the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio.

The competition focused on four unique challenges: The ‘Speed Sour’ led by Disaronno ambassador Rod Eslamieh, the ‘Twisted Martini’ hosted by Reyka ambassador Joe Petch, the ‘Saturday Night Simulator’ concocted by Monkey Shoulder ambassador Grant Neave and the ‘Sailor Jerry Tiki-Off’, presented by Sailor Jerry ambassador EmmaLi Stenhouse.

Congratulations to the winning team: Matt, Matt and Colette from B@ONE in Reading, took home the entire back bar full of the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio. With the winning team based in Reading, where the competition was hosted, the prize didn’t have far to travel.

Joe Petch, William Grant & Sons UK Reyka Brand Ambassador, who led the competition, commented: “I started my career in Reading so for me this competition was really an opportunity to bring together like-minded bartenders from around the country – away from the usual capital city focus – and showcase some great up & coming talent. We saw some genuine originality from the participants using some of the William Grant & Sons UK brands: Monkey Shoulder, Reyka, Sailor Jerry, and Disaronno.

“The competition was a great success and was thoroughly enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike. This is an event we will definitely be doing again.”

Disaronno Raises The Bar With 2015 Mixing Star


Italian liqueur, Disaronno has launched the search for the UK’s next Mixing Star and introduced an exciting new prize to attract more bartenders than ever to the UK leg of its global cocktail competition.

Talented bartenders who create inspired recipes using Disaronno will compete to win an all-expenses paid trip to New Orleans for the world’s premier cocktail festival and legendary industry event, Tales of the Cocktail. The runner up will win a night at The Langham hotel, London, including dinner and cocktails for two at ‘The World’s Best Bar’, the Artesian.

To enter, bartenders will need to submit an original Disaronno cocktail recipe via The Mixing Star website. An esteemed panel of judges, including Gary Sharpen of The Cocktail Lovers magazine and Disaronno’s UK brand ambassador, Rod Eslamieh will then select the best recipes and the successful contestants will compete at the live challenges in Manchester and London this June.

The bartender who receives the highest score from both the judging panel and the guests who attend the live challenges will win the coveted prize and fly to the USA to join the Mixing Star winners from across the globe.

Disaronno’s Mixing Star will be supported via the new website, a digital media campaign, PR and targeted advertising. The competition is open now and bartenders can enter here – http://www.themixingstar.com

Disaronno Terrace Comes To Manchester

Disaronno Terrace

The month of August has seen the Spinningfield area of Manchester taken over by the brand of Disaronno. The Oast House venue boasts one of the largest outdoor terraces in the city, meaning the perfect place for the Italian liqueur to host its seasonal Disaronno Terrace events. A showcase of all things Disaronno, each residency offers the chance to enjoy classic and crafted serves, alongside live music artist and illustrators. 


From a drinks perspective, this was a great occasion to experience again the likes of a Disaronno Sour, a classics that is available from the Disaronno Sours cart, main bar, or indeed the chance to create the Disaronno Sour yourself. A rarity for an event to have such interaction on the main drink of the evening, yet it worked as guests are able to release the inner bartender within and shake up a classic.
The main bar itself has the likes of the Godfather, a mix of Disaronno and Monkey Shoulder, as well as two unique recipes for the tour, a Terrace Cooler which mixes Disaronno, cranberry juice, orange juice and strawberry puree, and the Terrace Sour, combining Disaronno, Monkey Shoulder, lemon juice and sugar with egg white. 

With a good atmosphere being created from Teleman and The Cribs, Disaronno have gone for something a little different in the way of re-introducing the brand to its customers. Although it is well-known, and a staple for most bars, the chance to experience within cocktails is sometimes limited, especially at home. The brand have done well in offering a unique environment, and one that they have taken to the likes of New York, Milan, Rome and Los Angeles over the last four years. I’ve been to many events sponsored and supported by brands over the years, but the chance to create a cocktail myself, enjoy music, and not be within a crowded area, all while al fresco style, is a cracking idea. 

Disaronno Terrace
Disaronno Terrace

There’s only one more event to go in Manchester before it hits residencies in Tokyo, Madrid, Amsterdam, Milan and Rome. If you get the chance, it’s definitely worth while to go down, if not, get yourself a bottle today and shake up a sours!

© 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.