Bartenders reach final with ‘precious’ barware and cocktails

Maker's Mark Trove

Five finalists have been announced for a competition linked to an exhibition of barware and bartenders’ other prized treasures.

They earned their places after presenting a precious bartending object alongside an original cocktail at the Maker’s Mark Bartender Trove event in London (pictured).

They are Chris Lacey of Rules in London, Rusty Cerven of the Connaught Bar at The Connaught in London, Michal Buben of NinetyEight Bar and Lounge in London, Martin Scott of Twenty Princes Street in Edinburgh, and Tim Pryde of The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh.

The five bartenders will compete at a cocktail event later this summer, with the prize of a chance to “experience the preciousness” of Maker’s Mark bourbon on a trip to Loretto, Kentucky.

Chris Lacey’s precious object was a 1950s vermouth dispenser called a Martini Spike which he found on eBay. It dates from the immediate post-war period when Martinis were becoming increasingly dry as it was hard to source vermouth.

Make it in Brooklyn by Chris Lacey

75ml Maker’s Mark
15ml China Martini
12 drops Yellow Chartreuse

Stir over ice, then strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with two maraschino cherries.

Rusty Cerven’s precious object was an ornamental samovar which he bought at a flea market in Russia. A samovar is traditionally used to heat and boil water in eastern Europe. Rusty used his samovar to warm his cocktail, Flags of our Fathers.

Flags of our Fathers by Rusty Cerven

50ml Maker’s Mark
20ml Becherovka liqueur
15ml Homemade 100% cocoa bean syrup
60ml Cinnamon-smoked Ceylon tea

Heat all the ingredients together, stir and pour into a tea cup. Garnish with an orange twist and grated tonka bean.

Michal Buben’s precious object was a Reed & Barton sterling silver jigger, which was made in the US in 1920. It was the very first piece of equipment that inspired Michal to collect vintage bartending tools. The jigger has remained with him throughout his career and he has used it in every trial shift and cocktail competition he has been a part of as he feels it is his lucky charm.

Immigrant by Michal Buben

35ml Maker’s Mark
25ml Umeshu
10ml Fig liqueur
Bar spoon of sugar syrup
2 dashes of orange bitters

Put all ingredients together, stir and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist and a slice of fig.

Martin Scott’s precious object was a vintage cocktail shaker from around the 1930s. He found it while working on the development of a bar and restaurant at an Edinburgh hotel that dates back to 1910. It was unearthed, along with many other items including cigarette packs, hotel guest details and a drinks menu, after discovering an entire level of the hotel that was once used as the main entrance. The shaker remains a key piece in Martin’s collection and has inspired classic 1930s-style cocktails that are served at Twenty Princes Street.

The Café Racer by Martin Scott

35ml Maker’s Mark
10ml Patrón XO Cafe
½ shot of espresso sweetened with 2ml of agave syrup
Spray of rubber essence
Finished with cigar paper smoke

Shake ingredients and serve in a rubber cup. “With this cocktail you get the layers of smoke, a hint of rubber, espresso, then the lasting sweetness of the Maker’s Mark,” Martin explains.

Tim Pryde’s precious object was a ceramic Shisaa cup from Okinawa, Japan, which he received from a close friend during his travels around Japan. A Shisaa cup is a guardian lion or dog decoratively used to ward off evil in Okinawan tradition. The open mouth of a Shisaa represents the welcoming of good spirits and this cup inspired Tim’s cocktail, the Okinawa Julep.

Okinawa Julep by Tim Pryde

60ml Maker’s Mark
30ml Nigori Sake
40ml Green tea syrup (six-minute infusion, 1:1 ration with caster sugar)
12 Mint leaves

Add all ingredients to the Shisaa cup. Add crushed ice, stir and repeat until the unit is full.

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