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.

Coffee Culture Meets Cocktail Hour For The Coffee Revolution


A nation of coffee lovers are now enjoying their favourite drink from morning cup through to evening cocktail, as the UK’s love for coffee booms.

Research shows that almost half of cocktail drinkers regularly choose flavoured cocktails including those mixed with coffee (source: CGA Mixed Drinks Report 2016). From the classic Espresso Martini, to new and innovative serves like the Tia Maria Mint Frappe, coffee cocktails have never been more in demand.

Tia Maria, the UK’s favourite coffee liqueur[1], is leading this trend with a selection of new serves that unite coffee culture and cocktail hour. The Tia Maria + Coffee Project launches at London Cocktail Week 3 – 9 October, where coffee connoisseurs can sip on cocktails unlike anything they’ve ever tasted before. Serves will be crafted by renowned mixologists working alongside Square Mile Coffee Roasters’ Anette Moldvaer.

Tia Maria ambassador Rod Eslamieh says; “There’s an increasing love for coffee cocktails, which can be seen at world-class bars in London and beyond, while artisan coffee houses are now serving cocktails through the night as a café nightlife culture continues to emerge. The bartender and barista play a very similar role so it’s no surprise we’ve brought the two together to drive this new coffee revolution.”

No other liqueur can make a coffee cocktail quite like Tia Maria, an exotic infusion of natural vanilla and the finest fresh Arabica coffee beans roasted to perfection, complemented with a touch of Jamaican rum. Tia Maria is made using a blend of 100% Arabica coffee, among the best in the world, providing strong character, a full-bodied taste, and a sweet tendency. The beans are expertly roasted, ground and left to macerate to produce this exceptional coffee liqueur.

Oliver Turner, UK Country Director at Tia Maria, adds; “With the taste for coffee at an all-time high, coffee cocktails have never been more popular and Tia Maria is certainly happy to be leading the charge. We’re urging all coffee lovers out there to unite and join us.”

Available nationwide, RRP £15.00 – £16.00 (70cl).

For more information visit http://www.tiamaria.com/

Gemma Cairney Unlocks The Door To The Tia Maria Dark Room

Tia Maria Dark Room

Stylish curator holds key to ultimate girls’ night out as unique series of events sweeps the UK

16th and 17th May see The Tia Maria Dark Room fling open its glamorous doors, making its debut in Manchester before taking Nottingham (4th and 5th July), Glasgow (15th and 16th August) and London (10th and 11th October) by storm. This year the not-to-be-missed series of events, curated by radio and TV personality Gemma Cairney, will be a celebration of all the best bits of a girl’s night out.

Guests will be treated to a complimentary manicure courtesy of a glamorous team of expert nail technicians from cult East London nail art boutique WAH Nails. The team down at WAH nails personally designed five stunning nail art creations with the rich, vibrant Tia Maria colour palette, all inspired by the decadent Tia Espresso, a timeless cocktail blending espresso, vodka and Tia Maria.

Also taking residence at The Tia Maria Dark Room will be stylists from leading salon Toni & Guy who will be teasing, tonging and twirling guests’ hair into the hottest hair trends of 2014.

The soundtrack to these exclusive nights will be an upbeat mix of dance floor fillers and classic party tracks from The Tia Maria Dark Room curator and DJ Gemma Cairney and live performances from talented local singer songwriters.

Guests will have the chance to channel their inner mixologist by shaking and stirring their own Tia Espresso whilst learning all about the exotic qualities of this sophisticated coffee liqueur.

Last year saw multiple BRIT Award Nominee Laura Mvula curate the Tia Maria Music Room, the first incarnation of these nights, which was unveiled at London’s Century Club to a rapturous reception from press before setting off on a tour of the UK. Mvula launched the series in style with a breathtaking performance of her celebrated debut album Sing To The Moon. The Tia Maria Dark Room is an evolution of this concept branching out from a sole focus on music to encompass style and beauty.

Gemma Cairney, The Tia Maria Dark Room curator commented: “BOOM shake, shake the room. Organising a party is my total favourite thing to do. I’ve put together friend’s hen do’s on party buses, spent most birthday’s herding all of my friends to dance around country houses and once aged 7, had a ‘fashion party’ where all my friend’s put together a catwalk show for our parents at the end. I like fun, boogieing and getting dressed up! Curting Tia Maria’s Dark Room around the country is an honour, expect a damn good night out & where your sparkliest. Expect surprise DJ sets, mesmerising live music and glitter.”

An array of other decadent cocktails will be served by the master blenders at The Tia Maria Dark Room, including the muse behind the limited edition WAH Nails designs, the Tia Espresso; the simple, yet stunning Dark Maria, a delicious mix of Tia Maria, Cola and dark Caribbean rum and the refreshing Tia and Ginger, a fiery combination of Jamaican ginger beer complimented by Tia Maria and lime.

Twitter: @TiaMariaDrink
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tiamariadrink

The Tia Maria Dark Room 2014

· 16th – 17th May – Manchester

· 4th & 5th July – Nottingham

· 15th & 16th August – Glasgow

· 10th & 11th October – London (Cocktail Week)


Tia Maria Tasting Notes

Tia Maria

After focusing on Kahlúa, we can bring out the coffee liqueur which usually comes to mind when talking about the subject, or indeed after finishing a hearty meal. But what makes Tia Maria stand out above the rest so-to-speak?

It’s origins are disputed, but going off Tia Maria’s official website –

‘The legend of Tia Maria dates back to the mid-17th century, when a beautiful young Spanish aristocrat fled the turmoil colonial war brought to the island of Jamaica. Her maid saved one family treasure, a small jewellery box with black pearl earrings and an ancient manuscript with the recipe for a mysterious liqueur. The recipe was named after the courageous woman: Tia Maria. It was then rediscovered in the 1950s by Dr. Kenneth Leigh Evans, who began to produce and market it. Still made to the original Caribbean recipe by ILLVA Saronno and distributed in over 60 countries . . .’

To dispute, Dr. Evans discovered the drink after World War II, and he began reproducing it. Since the company called Tia Maria International Limited was incorporated in 1929, this seems unlikely.

Either way, Tia Maria is in our stores, bars and restaurants, partly due to the fact that its first television ad campaign in the 1980’s, featuring Iman, the famous supermodel and wife of British rock star David Bowie, brought the attention of Tia Maria to global attention.

With an infusion of natural vanilla, fresh roasted Jamaican coffee beans, a secret blend of 27 herbs and spices sourced from across the globe, and a touch of Jamaican rum, Tia Maria is simple, and effective. But how does it fare just on its own, no after-dinner or cocktail in sight? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Tia Maria – 20%

Fresh coffee on the nose with a slight raw roast following. Very soft on the palate however, with a slight sweetness following a whisp of coffee and rum blending together.

Not too bad, but one thing that this liqueur is also good for is its adaptability within cocktails –

Tia Espresso Martini
Tia Espresso Martini

Tia Espresso Martini

Glass – 


Ingredients –

25 ml Tia Maria
25 ml Espresso
25 ml Vodka
12.5 ml Sugar syrup

Method – 

Combine all ingredients together with crushed ice in a boston shaker and shake. Fine strain into a martini glass and garnish with coffee beans.


Maria L’Orange

Glass – 

Maria L'Orange
Maria L’Orange



20 ml Tia Maria
20 ml Triple Sec
40 ml Orange juice

Method – 

Combine all ingredients together with crushed ice in a boston glass. Shake and fine strain into a coupet glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Tia Maria is an all-rounder. Great on its own, even better within a cocktail. With its closest rival of Kahlúa, coffee liqueurs set the trend for your after-dinner drink and something a little bit more extravagant than your normal choice of coffee. And don’t forget, just because you don’t see them on a menu too often, a bar will more than likely stock it. Don’t be afraid to ask, after all, it’s your night.

Check out more photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.