Tag Archives: northern restaurant and bar

Finalists Announced at Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition with Whitley Neill Dry Gin

Whitley Neill - Gin and Tonic

Finalists announced for the Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Whitley Neill Dry Gin, with the chance to win a once in a lifetime VIP visit to South Africa.

Competitors have been asked to submit one unique drink, containing a minimum of 35 ml of any Whitley Neill Dry Gin expression, and adding inspiration of the gin’s South Africa influence.

Four finalists, chosen by a blind judging panel of gin experts including founder Johnny Neill, have been chosen, and they include;

Thomas Gedney-Higham, Bibi’s Italianissimo, Leeds
Bettina Kovacs, Dishoom, Edinburgh
Jenny Griffiths, Ten Mill Lane, Cardiff
Lükas Alberti, Three Six Six (Battersea), London

Each finalist will be invited to the final of the competition at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester on Wednesday 22nd March 2016 at 3:15pm. The competition is hosted by Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast and Halewood Wines & Spirits, the distributors for Whitley Neill Dry Gin, and compared by spirit writer Joel Harrison.

The winner will visit South Africa in late 2017 as the guest of Whitley Neill Dry Gin, which has previously beaten off the challenge from the World’s finest gin brands by winning gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014. The visit will also include a 1 day safari.

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the biggest hospitality show in the North. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Casco Viejo cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business. Tickets are free to anyone actively working in the hospitality industry, register now at northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/webtickets

Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition Winner Announced with Tequila Casco Viejo

Alexander Taylor

The winner for Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Tequila Casco Viejo, has been announced and wins a once in a lifetime VIP visit to Arandas in Mexico.

Competitors had been asked to submit one unique drink, containing a minimum of 35 ml of either Tequila Casco Viejo Blanco or Reposado, and adding influence of the famous Camarena Brothers, the producers of the brand, as well as the history and heritage of Mexico itself.

The four finalists of Tim Ward of Alvino’s in Newcastle, Alexander Taylor of 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff, Steve Lawson of MASH Steak in London and Ciaran Russell of The Tippling House, Aberdeen were invited to the final of the competition at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester where each competitor was asked to re-create their drink to the waiting judges, including Chris Grimes of Bitten Magazine, Paul Murphy of The Whisky Business in Liverpool and Jack Rackham, Commercial Director of Emporia Brands, the tequila brands UK Distributor.

L-R Paul Murhpy, Alexander Taylor, Jack Rackham
(L-R) Paul Murphy, Alexander Taylor, Jack Rackham

After impressing the judges and crowd with ‘Don Agustin’s Daisy’, Alexander Taylor of 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff just edged the incredibly close final by paying tribute to the late Don Augustin and Mexico’s traditional use of Marigold flowers, which are both floral and earthy, to grieve the passing of loved ones. Combining Casco Viejo Reposado, Suze Saveur D’Autrefois, Luxardo Amaretto, yellow pepper and lime with a garnish of flamed orange zest and scattered marigold petals, Alex has won himself a visit to Arandas, Mexico as the guest of Tequila Casco Viejo, which has previously beaten off the challenge from the World’s finest tequila brands by winning gold and being rated ‘outstanding’ by the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

Jack Rackham has said “the standard of the presentations and the quality of the drinks was absolutely first class. Separating the finalists was an incredibly tough job but in the end we unanimously agreed that Alex was the deserved winner and I look forward to welcoming him to Casa Camerena distillery”.

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the biggest hospitality show in the North. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Casco Viejo cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre featured a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business.

Don Agustin's DaisyAlexander Taylor, 10 Feet Tall, Cardiff

Don Agustin’s Daisy

45ml Casco Viejo Reposado
10ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
10ml Luxardo Amaretto
5cm Yellow Pepper
25ml Lime

Shake all ingredients hard and fine strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a flamed orange zest and scattered marigold petals.

Gabriel Boudier Offer The Chance To Win A Liqueur Masterclass In Dijon, France, At The Northern Restaurant And Bar

1207_Reportage_Boudier11A VIP visit to Dijon, France is the prize for the winner of the Gabriel Boudier Cocktail Competition, to be staged at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester on Wednesday 18th March at 3:15pm.

Hosted once again by Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast, who is working alongside Emporia Brands, the distributors for the French based liqueurs here in the UK.

Competitors will be asked to submit two drinks. The first recipe must be a signature serve containing at least 10 ml of any expression from the Gabriel Boudier Iconic range, whilst the second recipe must be a signature serve containing at least 15 ml of any expression from the Gabriel Boudier Bartender range. The two recipes are a free-reign to create two unique cocktails worthy of the grand prize. A maximum time limit of 10 minutes on the main stage will be given in which both cocktails will be re-created for the judging panel.

The winner will visit Dijon as the guest of Gabriel Boudier, who beat off the challenge from the world’s finest liqueur distilleries to take the trophy for Supreme Champion two years running. The visit will include liqueur training in Dijon and the chance to share expertise with the Battault family, creators of the range, as well as plenty of opportunity to find out why Dijon, the gateway to Burgundy, is seen as one of the most beautiful cities in France.

Scotland based entrants should submit interest to Ed Baird (ed@emporiabrands.com), whilst London based entrants should submit interest to Gavin McGowan-Madoo (gavin@emporiabrands.com). The deadline for both is Monday 23rd February. An entry form will be sent to all interested bartenders in view of competing in the respective regional heat.

For the rest of the UK, entrants should direct themselves to the entry form found on the Northern Bar and Restaurant website (http://www.northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/content/Cocktail-Competition-with-Gabriel-Boudier) with their recipes by midnight on Friday 27th February. 2 finalists will be notified on Monday 2nd March and invited to demonstrate their recipes on the Drinks Live stage at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show, alongside the winners from the London and Scotland heats.

Gabriel Boudier expressions and basic bar equipment will be supplied at the final, with all other ingredients, garnishes and glassware to be provided by the competitor. No electrical equipment can be used on stage.

Judges, including respected industry figure Simon Difford, will be scoring for knowledge on the Gabriel Boudier brand, the appearance and presentation of the drinks, the aromas of the cocktails and finally how it tastes.

For the full list of Gabriel Boudier expressions, please see www.emporiabrands.com. Available through Coe Vintners, Speciality Drinks and Venus, as well as online retailers including MasterOfMalt.com, and TheDrinkShop.com

Northern Restaurant and Bar, and The Changing Face of American Craft Beer in the UK

Guest writer Rowan Molyneux visited this years Northern Restaurant and Bar in Manchester to offer us her view on the highlights to look out for;

On Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th of March, the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show was in full swing. The North’s biggest hospitality event, NRB played host to scores of exhibitors, and members of the hospitality industry converged on Manchester Central from all over the UK. With almost 7000 people pouring through the doors over the course of the show, the mood was vibrant and jolly, with visitors and exhibitors alike making connections, exchanging business cards and tips, and of course, sampling the food and drink which was flowing freely as companies proudly showed off their wares. The two-day event was frequently punctuated by masterclasses, talks and demonstrations from chefs, brewers and brand representatives, with the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition showcasing the skill of bartenders from across the UK. Also present was an exclusive pop-up bar created by Almost Famous, epitomising the restaurant’s irreverent vibe on a more compact scale; let it be known that their aniseed and chilli alcoholic slushie was a force to be reckoned with!

With hundreds of products on show, it’s been inordinately difficult to whittle down the amazing offerings to a manageable list, but eventually I managed to put together a little selection of the brands and events which particularly piqued my interest over the two days. Without further ado, I present to you ‘Molyneux’s Northern Restaurant and Bar Picks 2014’.

First up, an unusual product from God’s own county: Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin. Produced in small batches, this 42% highly sippable gin showcases interesting flavours – mingled tones of fennel, black pepper, zest, juniper and pine result from a mix of citrus, their own juniper bushes, and a secret botanical blend. Recommended serves include lime, green apple, orange peel, or, intriguingly, grapefruit and black pepper.

Next is Penderyn, a single malt Welsh whisky. Wales seems to be a lot more visible in the drinks world these days, being the home of amazing craft beers from breweries such as The Celt Experience and Tiny Rebel. Now Penderyn, the only whisky distillery in Wales, are making their mark with their single malt. Recently featured in a Guardian article showcasing five of the best whisky masterclasses around, their core range consists of a trio of 46% whiskies. Madeira is aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in ex-Madeira wine casks, giving it lots of toffee and dark dried fruit flavours. Sherrywood is aged in Oloroso sherry casks, allowing a dryness to briefly interrupt the rounded sweetness of caramel and sultana. Their Penderyn Peated is, of course, full of sweet smokiness, interspersed with vanilla and a hint of citrus. At the distillery they also produce Brecon Five Vodka, Brecon Gin, and Merlyn Welsh Cream Liqueur – as an Irish Cream devotee, I’m desperate to get my hands on a bottle of this!

Vodka has to be pretty good to impress me, but Snow Queen has done just that. At 40%, this organic vodka from Khazakstan uses organic wheat and pure spring water, and is distilled five times. Snow Queen is so remarkably silky smooth that you can sip it, straight, at room temperature. I don’t know about you, but my days of putting vodka in the freezer are over..!

Another spirit which I found highly enjoyable without it being chilled down was the newly launched Admiral Vernon’s Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum, 75.5%. You’d never have guessed the ABV just by tasting it; there is a huge hit of warmth there, but the harsh burn you might expect from a rum this strong just isn’t present. In its place, there are heavy vanilla flavours, and a little lime at the back of the palate. This is a rum with power and impact, and I look forward to seeing it being used in cocktails soon.

With regard to events, the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition was an amazing showcase for the talent of cocktail bartenders at the top of their game both in Manchester and further afield. The winner, Adam from Corridor (#UnderNewManagement) in Salford took showmanship to the next level with the help of his glamorous assistant ‘Hilary the cow’, who roamed the room dispensing alcoholic goodness from her udders while Adam talked the crowd through his cocktail, mixing it with efficiency and flair. He was a worthy winner, and he – and the very close runner up, Tom from Kosmonaut – will be visiting St Lucia for the rum trip of a lifetime later this year.

One talk I wouldn’t have dreamed of missing was ‘The Changing Face of American Craft Beer’, led by Will Evans of Cave Direct on behalf of Kona Brewing Co – a brewery with the charming tagline, ‘Liquid Aloha’. Those who know me will be aware that I am, first and foremost, a beer geek, having been firmly entrenched in the industry for the last five years, in which time I’ve seen the availability of a wide selection of American craft beers skyrocket. Using the Hawaiian brewery Kona Brewing Co’s core range as an example, Will spoke about how to slowly introduce standard lager drinkers to craft beer, one step at a time – but first, he provided us with a little history. In the 1970s, the state of brewing in America was pretty dire, with only 44 breweries in the whole country; many of them making dull, insipid lager. This lack of any decent choice led to the homebrew revolution as Americans began to make the flavoursome beers that they themselves wanted to drink. Microbreweries sprung up, and today there are around 2500 breweries making craft beer in the United States. Every American has a relatively local craft brewer, and this is also gradually becoming true of the UK, with the range and quality of lovingly made beers skyrocketing over the last few years. Consumer demand has risen sharply, and customers who have previously habitually swilled back pints of ‘premium’ lager have become open to trying a more artisanal product. So, how do we convert fans of mainstream lager to craft beer, which often contains flavours which can be challenging to the unsuspecting? It’s all about the progression.

The first Kona beer we try is Longboard Island Lager: a German-style pilsner at 4.6%, its big malt character balanced by the high alpha acid Hallertau hop. This makes the beer clean, refreshing, and above all, accessible. Pilsners are marvellous gateway beers, eminently quaffable, gradually introducing more flavour than a mainstream lager without being a shock to the system. From there, the next step in the journey is to introduce your customers to a pale ale. Still nothing too bitter or strong– now is not the time to try and get them drinking Magic Rock’s Cannonball! – but here is where you move into ales and introduce a fruitier hop profile with a big aroma. Big Wave is Kona’s golden ale at 4.4%, showcasing Galaxy and Citra hops with a huge passionfruit aroma and tropical fruit on the palate, supported by apricots and dried fruit. The hop profile absolutely is the star attraction, but this is still a light and easy-drinking beer. The low ABV makes it an accessible next step up from lager. Will tells us that this beer would be wonderful paired with a pineapple and pulled pork burrito. Now that sounds like a plan!

And then, of course, it’s onwards and upwards to the full on, uncompromising beers that craft beer geeks obsess over. We’re talking hugely bitter fruity double IPAs, deep dark rich imperial stouts, and mouth-puckering lambics. This is a level which not everyone will enjoy, but it’s the top rung of the artisanal beer ladder. The last beer in our tasting session, Kona’s Fire Rock pale ale at 6%, is towards the less extreme end of this level, but its ABV may scare off the more traditional beer drinker. It’s a hop-forward beer with higher bitterness, but this is balanced by the caramel flavours from the strong malt backbone. This beer, Will opines, would be best paired with barbecue food, as the caramelised meat complements the malt, and the hop bitterness cuts through the char. Drinking beer with meat: always good advice! This talk gave a concise history of where American craft beer has come from, and provided industry folk with an easy-to-follow map for gradually introducing one’s customers to more interesting beer. Cheers Will, and thanks for the samples!

The show will return to Manchester on the 17th and 18th of March, 2015. If you missed out this year, put it in your diary now – I’ll see you there.

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

Finalists Announced For The Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition At Northern Restaurant and Bar

Chairmans Reserve

The five recipes have been chosen to go through to the final of the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition, to be staged at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester on Wednesday 19th March at 3:15pm.

With expert opinions by Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, and Steven James of Rum Diaries, the five have been selected, with Steven commenting “I like ‘rum forward’ drinks that play to the strengths of the base spirit…..and whether I myself would order the drink in a bar. I know Chairman’s Gold as a rum and think that the flavours and presentation of the chosen entries will highlight the Rum”.

Taking into account the high calibre of recipes, and the feedback by Peter and Steven, organiser Dave Marsland, aka Drinks Enthusiast, and Emporia Brands, the distributors for the St Lucia Distillers based rum here in the UK, have decided to open an extra slot, making it six competitors overall.

The selected finalists are:

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

All 6 are invited down to the main stage at the Northern Restaurant and Bar, and have the chance to recreate their drink to the judging panel. This year, they will each need to impress Mark Ludmon, Editor of Bar Magazine, Lyndon Higginson of The Liars Club, Manchester and Scott Wallace of Emporia Brands. Each judge will be looking for knowledge on the Chairman’s Reserve brand, the appearance and presentation of the drink, the aromas of the cocktail and finally how it tastes.

The winner will visit St Lucia as the guest of St Lucia Distillers, who beat off the challenge from the world’s finest malt whisky and cognac distilleries to take the trophy for Individual Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge 2013. The visit will include rum training at this 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.