Bramble bartender wins Caorunn final

A bartender from Bramble in Edinburgh has won the global final of a competition that set the challenge of creating new cocktails for Caorunn Gin and telling the stories behind them.

Iain Griffiths (pictured above), aged 25, triumphed over three other international finalists from England, Spain and the US in the Caorunn Storytellers Global Cocktail Challenge, which was held in Edinburgh yesterday (September 3). It followed his success at the Scottish final in July. Click here for details.

The finalists spent five days in Scotland as guests of Caorunn Gin, including a trip to the Balmenach Distillery where Caorunn is produced and a private tour of the gin plant with gin master Simon Buley. They also enjoyed a Caorunn-infused Speyside dinner, a Highland Games experience and a bespoke cocktail masterclass to inspire them for the final.

The Caorunn Storytellers Global Cocktail Challenge challenged bartenders to create a new Caorunn cocktail and showcase the story behind it. With its Celtic heritage, the team looking after the super-premium gin believe that there is a tale to tell behind every drink.

At the global final, the bartenders were asked to reproduce their winning cocktail from the national heats. The drinks were inspired by Caorunn’s Scottish heritage and five Celtic botanicals – rowan berry, coul blush apple, bog myrtle, heather and dandelion.

They were also asked to submit an additional cocktail inspired by their visit to the Balmenach Distillery. They were given 12 ingredients to produce a drink that also needed to include an additional ingredient brought from their home.

The judging panel included Geraldine Coates of, Ryan Chetiyawardana of soon-to-launch bar concept Mr Lyan and Caorunn’s brand ambassador Ervin Trykowski.

They praised Iain’s cocktail, The Damson Chamber, which was inspired by the smells of both Balmenach Distillery and early mornings in Edinburgh, which he said were a mixture of breweries and mist and the perfect combination for a walk home after a late shift at Bramble. To create the drink he used a mixture of ingredients, including an unusual combination of damson berries steamed with juniper and rowan berry.

The other international finalists were England winner William Underwood from Plymouth, US winner Leslie Ross from Houston, Texas, and Spain’s winner Maria Mayora from Los Tamarises in Getxo, near Bilbao.

Iain took home a cash prize of £1,500 as well as gaining the title of Caorunn Global Storyteller 2012. His winning drink will be promoted worldwide as a signature Caorunn cocktail.

Caorunn brand manager Ibolya Bakos said: “The innovative ideas behind the finalists’ cocktails have been outstanding and perfectly tie in with Caorunn’s reputation as a modern, sophisticated gin with a rich heritage. Iain’s winning cocktail is a truly original, inventive drink and the story behind it is exciting and inspiring. The competition was very close and Caorunn is delighted to have witnessed some of the world’s best bartending skills.”

The Damson Chamber by Iain Griffiths

50ml Caorunn Gin
25ml BrewDog Never Mind The Anabolics India Pale Ale
25ml Rotovap apple syrup
2 Damson berries steamed with juniper and rowanberry
3 drops of Jade 1901 Absinthe

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and “throw” for 10 seconds. Pour into a chilled coupette glass.

Pictured: Iain Griffiths, Ervin Trykowski, William Underwood, Leslie Ross and Maria Mayora

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