Finalists Announced at NRB19 Cocktail Competition with Ms Better’s Bitters

bannerFinalists announced for Northern Restaurant & Bar 2019’s national cocktail competition, sponsored by Ms Better’s Bitters, with the chance to win a VIP visit to Canada with guest shifts in Vancouver and Montreal.

Following a series of regional heats, the finalists have been announced for Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored in 2019 by Ms Better’s Bitters.

The winner will join Ms Better’s Bitters on a scenic trans-Canada trip with guest shifts in Vancouver and Montreal! Second place is a majestic treat filled day with Ms Better’s Bitters strolling along the River Thames, with third place being a trip to a London city farm followed by dinner and drinks with Ms Better’s Bitters.

Competitors were asked to submit a unique drink using at least one of the Ms Better’s Bitters range for their Big Beautiful Cocktail Competition! Regional semi-finals were held in February and early March in London, Birmingham, Leeds & Newcastle and the four finalists have been announced as:

1. Raven Ridge by Luke Bensley, Nocturnal Animals, Birmingham
2. Mr Brightside by Erion Bardhoci, Mezemiso at Crowne Plaza Albert Embankment, London
3. Wanderlust by Dan Smithson, Below Stairs, Leeds
4. Dillon Scott / Pleased to Meet you, Newcastle upon Tyne

“We have been exhibited at Northern Restaurant & Bar for the last 5 years and seen many other competitions take place. This year we felt we had a product in Ms Better’s Bitters that would give our entrants the freedom to express themselves and their talents. We set a very loose brief and were very pleased to receive nearly 60 entries. The finalists all showed great brand knowledge, creativity and quality drinks to earn their places and we are now really excited to welcome them to NRB19 in the Drinks Live theatre to see who will win the trip to Canada,” said Jonathan Braham-Everett of JBE Imports, UK distributor of Ms Better’s Bitters

Each finalist is invited to the final of the competition in the Drinks Live theatre at Northern Restaurant & Bar 2019 at Manchester Central on Wednesday 20 March 2019 at 15:15.

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the North’s hospitality show. As well as the Ms Better’s Bitters cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business including the Schofield Brothers, Northern Hospitality and the BEAT team from Pernod Ricard. The theatre is surrounded by a curated selection of sprits from across the UK and around the world.

Free trade only tickets are available now at northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/tickets

Advertisements

Oxley Gin Announces First UK On-Trade Competition In Search Of The Country’s Most Inventive Gimlet

DISHOOM17

OXLEY®, the unbelievably cold distilled gin, announces its inaugural cocktail competition open to the UK on-trade centred around one of the world’s most classic cocktails – the Gimlet. Accounts across Edinburgh, Manchester and London are being challenged to invent their unique twist on the Gimlet serve, a drink traditionally made with only two ingredients – lime cordial and gin. The use of sub-zero distillation in a quest to keep the botanicals in OXLEY gin faithful to nature, combined with using only fresh-frozen citrus, the Gimlet showcases this bright and flavourful gin – essential in controlling and balancing the essential cordial element. With the Gimlet’s current revival and dividing of opinions, almost as much as the martini, OXLEY gin will tour the three cities from February through May in search of the unexpected, inventive expression of this serve.

CORDIALLY INVITED
With many different takes on the Gimlet featuring across the UK’s top on-trade accounts – 12% of bars polled the serve in their top 10 cocktails* – from Mint Gun Club’s staple three versions, each prebatched and kept in the freezer and served in frozen liqueur glasses, to Scarfes Bar’s twist using a home-made cordial infused with zara lebu skin, lemongrass, shiso and kaffir lime leaves, OXLEY gin is inviting bartenders to experiment and create their own cordial that will complement the thirst for flavour and unmistakable taste of OXLEY gin. Each bartender will be gifted an OXLEY Cocktail Kit to support their own innovative interpretation of the Gimlet with the winner walking away with their own bespoke, co-branded fridge.

The winning recipe will be selected by Karine Tillard, Brand Ambassador for OXLEY gin, along with a special guest, who will visit the competing bars before crowning the most inventive bartender in each region.

Florent Demars, UK Brand Manager – OXLEY gin comments “Since the invention of OXLEY, we have continued to champion flavour and freezing nature in its tracks. We are excited to see how bartenders across the UK can create a truly adventurous take on the Gimlet, a cocktail that has been gaining popularity and momentum rising 26% in the last year alone as one of the world’s best-selling classic cocktails.”

Emily Says . . . . ‘Martin Millers’

Martin Millers

In her thirteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at what’s next in her journey now Dry Ginuary is over;

So Ginuary may be officially over on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean my obsession with the good stuff is over. At all. Forever being on the look-out for the perfect gin, I have come across this fantastic little number and it is certainly one not to be missed.

Launched in 1999, Martin Miller’s gin was founded by the man himself, Martin Miller. Mr Miller and two friends were regular drinkers in and around the London bar scene, and were generally appalled by the poor quality of gin available in pubs and bars. Wanting to bring something new to the back bar and to encourage a younger group of consumers to gin, Miller and his two friends set out to try and create the best gin possible; and, in my opinion, they did rather well.

Pot distilled in the Langley’s distillery, Martin Millers is distilled here in the UK; but the story doesn’t start in England. It indeed starts in Iceland in which the distillate is diluted with fresh Icelandic water. A pollution free country, and one of the world’s most active volcanic hot spots, Iceland is the perfect geographical location in terms of sourcing only the best fresh produce.

Taking on a ten day journey for Martin Millers from Immingham on the East Coast of England, Borganes is located at the head of Iceland’s remote west coast. From the depths of the beautiful basalt mountains that frame the Icelandic skyline, the water is drawn from Martin Millers very own spring in this remote and exclusive little location.

The botanicals that go into Martin Millers consist of the relatively straight-forward ingredients, such as juniper, coriander, angelica root, cinnamon, cassia, liquorice, nutmeg and Seville orange; straight-forward, perhaps, but timelessly perfect.

In terms of tasting notes, fresh juniper and bitter orange flavours are instantly apparent. Notes of Seville orange gently dominate the overall taste, with the distillation of Icelandic water delivering a beautifully smooth texture. These notes last throughout the entire drink, leaving a fresh and slightly peppery taste on the palate to finish.

In a personal opinion, this is the gin to go to when wanting a simply fresh and smooth drinking experience; Martin Millers have created the most fantastic gin. To be drank alongside an Indian tonic over ice, garnished with a fresh strawberry and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Photo Credit: Martin Millers

Emily Says . . . . ‘Flor De Sevilla’

tanquerayIn her twelfth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at Ginuary over Dry January;

The New Year is well and truly upon us, and a new year usually means one thing: Dry January. But I’m not here to talk about that nonsense! I’m here to talk about “Ginuary”, and what gins have appeared under my radar so far this month.

With Tanqueray being one of the most popular London Dry Gins known, the arrival of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla has caught not only my attention, but the attention of the bartending community. But firstly, what exactly is Tanqueray all about?

Founded by Charles Tanqueray in 1830 in Bloomsbury, London, Tanqueray still holds the original recipe that has stood the test of almost one hundred and eighty years. The distillery, however, was severely damaged during World War Two in 1941. The only surviving piece of equipment was one of the stills that was nicknamed “Old Tom”, and made the move with them to the new and current distillery in Cameron Bridge, Scotland.

The story of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla begins in Spain’s sun-drenched Seville, a place brimming with fresh and beautiful flavours; including its vastly growing gin market. Traditionally, the recipe follows the original that is used for Tanqueray London Dry, but involves a beautiful blend of sevilla orange essences and other fine botanicals, including classics such as juniper and angelica root, all of which are distilled four times over.

On the nose, the zesty aromas of the sevilla oranges dominate the first initial smell. A sweet and fragrant aroma that connotes a warm summers evening; something that we all need in this frosty month!

With an ABV of 41.3%, Flor De Sevilla delivers the perfect zesty balance of classic Tanqueray on the palate, with the delightfully predictable notes of sevilla orange. Whilst this gin remains citrus heavy, fresh and floral notes are present, creating a long and fruity finish.

This citrusy little number is perfect served as a 50ml double over ice with an Indian tonic water. In terms of garnish, there’s no need to go over-board for this one. A simple wedge of orange will do just nicely… not forgetting to squeeze over the finishing product! A personal favourite at the moment, Tanq’s Flor De Sevilla is a ‘must try’ in 2019.

Photo Cred: Tanqueray

Manchester Rum Festival Returns For Third Year

Teaser Poster

Rum advocate and Manchester based Dave Marsland of Drinks Enthusiast is bringing back Manchester Rum Festival for a 3rd year running, hosting it at the new event and exhibition space Brickworks, within Barton Arcade on Deansgate.

Saturday 8th June 2019 will see an expansion of the previous two sold-out festivals, resulting in both an afternoon and evening session for the first time, with ticket prices frozen from the 2018 festival, staying at £20 per person.

“SEMINAR ROOM ADDED TO 2019”

The festival, created by Dave in 2017 to show that Manchester and the North of England are contributing in a major way to the growing rum category, will feature for the first time a seminar room that will house some of the world’s best rum speakers, brand owners and cocktail bartenders.

It will also see the return of Revolución de Cuba as the festivals bar supporter, offering a variety of rum cocktails through their Cuban bar experience. The in-house festival shop will also be present once again, this time hosted by Marigot Bay Bar and Café, the latest venture opened by Dave in July 2018 in Altrincham. Alston Bar and Beef are also returning as one of the festival’s food vendors.

 “REVOLUCION DE CUBA RETURN”

Exhibitors will be announced over the coming months through the festival website and social media pages, as well as further activities around the city.

To purchase tickets, visit www.manchesterrumfestival.com

Dave has been involved in the drinks industry for 12 years, working with a variety of rum brands and companies to expand their business into the North of England, culminating in Manchester Rum Festival in 2017 and Caribbean inspired venue Marigot Bay Bar and Café in 2018. The announcement of the 3rd festival comes on-the-heels of Dave earning a top 4 position in the 2018 Rum Barrel Awards for UK Rum Advocate of the Year.

Emily Says . . . . ‘MFDF18’

The Gin Lounge

In her tenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the MFDF’s Gin Lounge;

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2018 is currently underway, and as always, it has a fantastic range of new foods and drinks to offer. Created back in 1998 by Phil Jones, the original concept was to demonstrate that Manchester has much more to offer than just, I quote, ‘meat pies and gravy’! Over the last twenty years, MFDF has achieved a national status whilst watching the drinking and dining scene of Manchester be transformed into the incredible industry it is today.

Naturally, my attention was immediately stolen by the drinking side to MFDF this year, in particular the Gin Festival put together by the Gin Lounge. For two days only, The Gin Lounge held an exclusive event showcasing some of the UK’s favourite gins. With the number of gin distilleries soaring across the UK, the choice of what gin to drink is becoming endless, so The Gin Lounge put on display some new faces to the world of gin.
For any gin enthusiast, The Gin Lounge put on a spectacular event. Sponsored by Fentimans, a range of flavoured tonics were on hand at all times to mix and match with the different gins tasted, ranging from a standard Indian tonic to a Valencian Orange tonic. An ice and garnish station provided an array of herbs and fruits that were designed to complement perfectly each unique gin available. Gin cocktail stands and a gourmet food van finished off the event beautifully, offering something for every gin lover.

As a representative of the North and in particular, Manchester, I found myself leaning towards the Manchester-based distilleries that made an appearance at this year’s gin festival. Three major Manchester distilleries really caught my eye during my time here at the gin festival, so here are the ones that I would truly recommend in indulging in:

The Gin Lounge 2

Didsbury Gin
https://www.didsburygin.com/

Created in the heart of Manchester’s Didsbury, Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood went out to create a citrusy twist on the classic London dry gin under just two years ago. Inspiration was taken from the botanical gardens of Parsonage and Fletcher Moss that date all the way back to 1919 since been gifted to the people of Didsbury by a quintessential English village.
Using traditional artisan methods and infusing modern botanicals such as hand-peeled fresh citrus and juniper, Didsbury gin offers a zesty and fresh drinking experience, with strong notes of citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit. These citrus notes allow the gin to be easily drank neat, and is mixed beautifully with Fentimans Indian tonic water.
The Raspberry and Elderflower edition of Didsbury gin is something truly outstanding. Rather than a standard raspberry gin (or more commonly known as ‘pink gin’), the elderflower balances out the usual sweetness that is associated with raspberry flavours, delivering a fruity yet crisp gin.

The Gin Lounge 3

Thomas Dakin Gin
http://www.thomasdakin.com/

A Manchester gin that dates back centuries, Thomas Dakin is surely the household name for gins in the North West. All the way back in 1761, Thomas Dakin began distilling gin in Warrington at the age of twenty five. With Dakin’s inventive and modern outlook upon the distillation process, he created a high quality English gin, despite the negative attitudes towards the distillation of one’s own gin at the time.
Styled around the classic London dry gin, Thomas Dakin is a juniper-led gin created with the use of eleven botanicals. Those botanicals include juniper, orange zest, angelica, grapefruit and English coriander seeds. Whilst the recipe itself remains a well-hidden secret, the knowledge of the botanicals used backs up perfectly the drinking experience that Thomas Dakin provides.
Sweet and citrusy notes dominate the overall flavour, which are beautifully backed up by the spicy and earthy notes provided by botanicals such as angelica and coriander. Mixed with Fentimans pink grapefruit tonic water.

The Gin Lounge 4

Manchester Three Rivers Gin
http://www.manchesterthreerivers.com/

Manchester Three Rivers gin is exactly what the name says. It is named after the three rivers that ran through the city before Manchester’s famous canals took over: Irwell, Irk and Medlock. It was these rivers that pumped life into the city and allowed for its many industries to develop and thrive.
The distillery was located close to the banks of Irk, which is what inspired the name for this Manchester gin. The area has a rich history of creativity and production, and Three Rivers has certainly paid homage to the area with their fantastic creation.
Produced by hand in small batches only by master distiller Dave Rigby, Three Rivers is a well-balanced gin using eleven botanicals, including vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and almond. Overall, the gin delivers a smooth drinking experience with a slight sweetness on the tongue. It is finished with a spicy black pepper kick, all thanks to the use of cardamom. Three Rivers was mixed perfectly with Fentimans Connoisseurs tonic water.
Manchester Three Rivers also offers an exclusive Gin Experience, allowing one to distil and bottle their very own unique gin in the Three Rivers distillery.

Emily Says . . . . ‘Hot Toddy’

Hot TOddy

In her seventh feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the pick-me-up she needed this week;

The Hot Toddy. The only alcoholic drink that is warmly welcomed when one is suffering from the typical and unavoidable British head cold. One of which I have found myself plagued with right now…

Lack of appetite, consistent headaches, blowing your nose around a hundred times a day; the common head cold is the ultimate downfall. This traditional Scottish tipple isn’t the miracle cure to this ghastly virus, but it certainly gives that little pick me up we all need when feeling a bit down in the dumps. But how did this little concoction come about?

Often known as Hot Whiskey, the Hot Toddy originates from Scotland and is typically made by mixing hot water, honey and liquor. The liquor used is more than often whiskey, but brandy and rum can also be used in this medicinal concoction. The Hot Toddy is traditionally drank before retiring for the night, and often delivers a peaceful nights sleep; just what we all need, especially us bartenders!

The drink is popular during the colder seasons when people are more prone to falling unwell, with the combination of boiling water and honey being there to sooth, and the alcohol being there to numb. But what is the perfect recipe for the Hot Toddy?

My talented colleague and wonderful friend Jonah Robertshawe has the answer. My Australian companion had a little dabble in creating the perfect Hot Toddy to soothe my sore throat; and mostly, to stop my complaining, and the spec goes a little something like this:

Glass – Mug or Latte Glass

2 slices of fresh ginger
Assorted spices (cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns)
Star Anise clove
Fresh red chilli (to taste)
25ml honey
25ml lemon juice
35ml Monkey Shoulder Scotch Whiskey
Top with boiling water

Garnish – Lemon wedge and cinnamon stick

You don’t have to be an experienced whiskey drinker to be able to enjoy the Hot Toddy. The sweetness of the honey delivers a beautifully smooth drink, toning down slightly the kick of the Monkey Shoulder; perfect for those who aren’t whiskey lovers. For those whiskey fanatics, however, a measure or two extra is always welcomed.

The combination of spices will guarantee to kick start the taste buds, making this little number the perfect winter warmer… or the perfect cold & flu medicine. When feeling under the weather, a hot drink is always the guaranteed remedy, and Jonah’s Hot Toddy has certainly made its way to the top of my list when I’m sat in bed with a box of tissues feeling sorry for myself.

A big thanks to Jonah for the little pick me up I needed! And yet another wonderful creation from Mr Robertshawe, whiskey truly is a miracle worker.

Credit:
Jonah Robertshawe at The Botanist
Photo – Epicurious

Emily Says . . . . ‘Old Mout Cider’

Old Mout

In her sixth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her favourite Summer cider;

Any bartender will be familiar with the famous brands of fruit cider. Fruit cider, whether one likes it or not, is the nation’s favourite summer time drink and certainly will be for a long time. And with summer creeping around the corner, I thought I’d write up a little something about one of the best brands and what wonderful things this company has to offer… and most importantly, how to pronounce it correctly!

Established 65 years ago in Nelson, New Zealand, Old Mout began on a cycling trip in England. Wanda Tait sampled the traditional local ciders and fell in love instantly. Bringing this love back to NZ, she set up her own cidery in a shed and the infamous company was born.

A couple of young pioneers then took over. Justin and Scottie helped give Old Mout the name they are so famous for with their tantalising and unique fruit flavours, rather than sticking to the traditional apple or pear flavours. The pair were inspired by the beautiful island fruits and went on to develop a range of fruit flavours that would later win them awards and, of course, a step up the ladder in the competitive cider industry.

Today in the UK, Old Mout is slowly but surely becoming a household name. With the strong competitors of Kopparberg and Rekorderlig fruit ciders, it was certainly a gradual process getting the word out about this NZ number. And it still is a gradual process on how to pronounce it correctly…

Its spelling causes understandable confusion. Rather than pronounce it as ‘Mout’, as the spelling suggests, it is in fact pronounced as ‘M-oo-oo-t’. Nor is it pronounced as ‘Moat’ either, which I’ve heard a few times over the bar as I’ve struggled to hold back my laughter.

Old Mout features four very unique flavours over here in the UK:

Kiwi & Lime
Strawberry & Pomegranate
Summer Berries
Passionfruit & Apple

Rather than sticking to the generic ‘Strawberry & Lime’ favourite that dominates most fruit ciders here in Britain, Old Mout have put a twist on the classic flavours of traditional cider. Pairing passionfruit with apple delivers bittersweet notes, and the combination of kiwi and lime gives something truly refreshing. Pomegranate has truly made an appearance in the bar over the last year, and it makes a superb flavour for a cider as Old Mout has proved.

So for this summer, make sure you are equipped with sunglasses and a bottle of Old Mout cider when sitting in your favourite beer garden; the sunshine and the exotic fruits of New Zealand have been brought to the UK!

Super Lyan And Jack Daniel’s Launch Tennessee Nitro Tours

thumbnail
This spring and summer London-based cocktail bar Super Lyan will be visiting cities across the UK with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey for the Tennessee Nitro Tours. In honour of Super Lyan’s innovative cocktail the Tennessee Nitro Martini, which was the first of its kind when it launched, the team will be collaborating with local, like-minded bars. For one night only at each stop, Super Lyan will be behind the bar allowing cocktail
fans across the UK to sample the Tennessee Nitro Martini as part of a special Jack Daniel’s cocktail menu. Kicking off in Manchester on 20th March at Peggy’s, Super Lyan will then go on to visit Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Belfast and do a bar takeover in its home city of London.

Super Lyan is the third venue from internationally renowned and multi-award winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan. A basement bar in Hoxton, it takes seemingly familiar classic cocktails and spruces them up with a touch of Lyan magic, with sustainability a key focus.

The Tennessee Nitro Martini is one of the bar’s signature drinks, and takes the espresso martini to the next level. It combines Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey with a homemade cola syrup and Sandows Cold Brew Coffee, which is then pulled through a nitrous keg system for a soft, effervescent texture reminiscent of Guinness. Served in a coupe and finished with a spritz of bergamot, the result is a creamy, complex cocktail that can be served extra quick. The first cocktail of its kind to use such technology, it also means the cocktail can be kegged making it sustainable, and was at the forefront of the eco-friendly cocktail trend.

In each city Super Lyan will be partnering with a bar which took part in last year’s Tennessee Calling programme, and will be working with the local team to develop a menu for the evening. Alongside the Tennessee Nitro Martini there will also be cocktails such as the Chattanooga Cooler and a special serve from the host bar. The line-up currently includes:

March – Peggy’s Bar in Manchester
April – Bramble in Edinburgh
May – Hedonist Project in Leeds
June – Filter & Fox in Liverpool
July – Callooh Callay in London
Belfast –to be announced soon…

Follow @super.lyan on Instagram for further details of dates and locations.

Finalists Announced at Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition with Double Dutch Drinks!

Product Range

Finalists announced for Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Double Dutch Drinks, with the chance to win a VIP visit to Holland.

Competitors have been asked to submit two unique drinks, a Summer style and a Winter style, containing any of the current Double Dutch Drinks range, and adding inspiration of the sparkling mixers Dutch heritage.

Four finalists, chosen by a blind judging panel of cocktail experts including founders Joyce and Raissa de Haas, have been chosen and they include;

Hamish Smith, Neighbourhood in Leeds – @NBHDRestaurants
Mycol Cavalieri, Coco Tang in Nottingham – @houseofcocotang
Leah Jones, Mr Coopers in Manchester – @MrCoopersMcr,
Thomas O’Connor, Silversmith’s Restaurant in Sheffield – @Silversmiths,

Each finalist will be invited to the final of the competition in the Drinks Live theatre at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester on Wednesday 21 March 2018 at 15:15.

The winner and a guest will visit Amsterdam in 2018 as the guest of Double Dutch, with complimentary flights and visiting the cities Double Dutch venues for VIP signature serves.

Awarded Virgin Foodpreneur by Sir Richard Branson for most creative, inspiring and disruptive F&B start-up in the UK and Best Premium Adult Soft Drink at the World Beverage Innovation Awards in 2016, Double Dutch offer unique flavours that revolutionise the world of beverages. Raised in the Netherlands, Double Dutch’s twin founders, Joyce and Raissa have a natural affinity with superlative drinks and excellent blending’s. Their love affair turned to frustration. While the world’s choice of spirits has continued to grow, mixers and sodas have remained bland, resulting in the Double Dutch love affair that unites great spirits with complementary mixers that enliven and enhance.

“The Perfect Twin for your spirit”

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the North’s hospitality exhibition. Returning to Manchester Central on 20 & 21 March, NRB18 hosts 275 exhibitors providing every product and service a hospitality business needs, delivers 65 exciting live food & drink demos, and brings the entire Northern hospitality industry together for two days of networking, discovery and inspiration. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Double Dutch Drinks cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business.

Free trade only tickets are available now at northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/tickets