Bartenders’ stories win gin challenge


Iain GriffithsIain Griffiths (pictured) from Bramble in Edinburgh and William Underwood from Plymouth have been crowned the national winners of a cocktail competition that challenged bartenders to be storytellers.

After winning the Scotland and England heats of the Caorunn Storytellers Global Cocktail Challenge, they will go on to represent their countries in a global final in September against bartenders from Spain and the US.

Coarunn Gin, part of International Beverage Holdings, created the competition to champion cocktail creativity and showmanship, based on the principle that, just as its own ingredients have a rich Celtic heritage, there is a tale to tell behind every drink.

Competitors had to prove their creativity by submitting a “modern classic” recipe inspired by one of Caorunn’s five Celtic botanicals – rowan berry, coul blush apple, bog myrtle, heather and dandelion. The judges also looked for a sparkling showman who could bring their creation to life by telling the tale behind it.

At the Scottish heat at The Finnieston in Glasgow, the judging panel included Martin Duffy from the Scottish Bartenders Network, Mal Spence from Glasgow’s Blythswood Square Hotel and Caorunn brand ambassador Ervin Trykowski. They were impressed by Iain’s cocktail, The Red Loch, which was inspired by a quest to enjoy a drink:

The Red LochThe Red Loch
50ml Caorunn
12.5ml White vermouth
12.5ml Apple wood-smoked sweet vermouth
7.5ml Drambuie 15 Year Old
Dandelion and burdock atomisation

Add all the ingredients except the dandelion and burdock to a mixing glass and dilute accordingly. Rinse chilled glass with atomisation. Strain across and spray once more. Serve and enjoy.

William, formerly of Blush Lounge in Plymouth and now at M&C Consultancy, came up with the winning cocktail, Oracle’s Promise, inspired by a story of love:

Oracle's PromiseOracle’s Promise
60ml Caorunn Gin
25ml Lillet Blanc
10ml Aperol
5ml Green Chartreuse
20ml Fresh Lemon Juice
10ml 1:1 Sugar Syrup

Pour all ingredients into a mixing vessel with ice and stir gently and slowly for 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupette glass or other suitable cocktail glass. Snap and twist the rind of a pink grapefruit across the top and twist to garnish. Serve with a smile.

Iain and William will now be invited to compete in the competition’s grand final which will take in Edinburgh on September 3. The winner will receive a cash prize of £1,500 and the title of Caorunn Global Storyteller 2012, with their winning drink being promoted worldwide as a signature Caorunn cocktail.

Caorunn brand manager Ibolya Bakos said: “The calibre of entries has been fantastic and bartenders have created modern classic cocktails which perfectly tie in with Caorunn’s reputation as a modern, sophisticated gin with a rich heritage.”

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