Drambuie seeks Rusty Nail twists alongside pop-up

Drambuie Rusty Nail

Drambuie is running a cocktail competition challenging bartenders to reimagine the Rusty Nail (pictured) to tie in with a pop-up experience for London Cocktail Week.

The Master Raconteur competition is seeking modern twists on the classic cocktail which was born in the clubs of New York City in the early 1960s and is made with Drambuie liqueur.

To enter the competition, entrants need to send a picture of their cocktail and the recipe, including the name of the drink, ingredients and an accompanying creation story to drambuie@exposure.net by midnight on October 2.

First-round entries will be judged by Freddy May, Drambuie global brand ambassador, and 10 finalists will be invited to battle it out during London Cocktail Week on Thursday October 8.

It will be held at Drambuie Presents The Brass & Crimson, an immersive pop-up experience next to the London Cocktail Week Village, taking over the basement bar of Smiths, Spitalfields in Old Spitalfields Market from October 7 to 9, with a late licence to 1am.

The finalists will be invited to create their drink and present the story behind it to a panel of judges including Freddy, Dev Johnson, principal bartender from New York City’s acclaimed Employees Only, and Louise Corbin from website BarChick.

The most inspired recipe and accompanying story will win a four-day adventure tracing the steps of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who owned the recipe for the liqueur that inspired Drambuie. It will take in Loch Ness, Charlie’s cave and Old Man Storr as well as a tour of Edinburgh bars and a spa day.

Freddy said: “The Rusty Nail belongs to a classic era, and to successfully reimagine a classic, a bartender must understand and respect its roots. After returning from working in New York, I’m really keen to understand the UK take on classic Rusty Nail and how it can be reinterpreted for a modern era here in the UK.

“Drambuie was born on the Isle of Skye, but came of age in New York in the ‘60s where the Rusty Nail became a slow-sipping favourite of the legendary Rat Pack. It was a part of the New York scene in the smoky jazz clubs of the day where the post-war youth created new music that broke the rules.

“This was the environment Drambuie matured in. The spirit it absorbed. The spirit it still embodies. And the spirit we’re challenging the UK’s finest bartenders to rejuvenate.”

The Brass & Crimson pop-up will also offer master classes, “From New York to London via Scotland”, hosted by Freddy and Dev. During these intimate sessions, Dev will give his unique insight into the New York City bar scene, offering tips on the best, little-known bartender haunts and providing an insider commentary on the local scene. Guests will also learn how to make the classic Rusty Nail plus two of the latest new cocktails being sipped in the bars and backrooms of NYC.

The master classes will run on Wednesday October 7 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm, on Thursday October 8 from 6pm to 7pm, and on Friday October 9 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. They can booked in advance at https://billetto.co.uk/en/events/from-nyc-to-london-via-scotland. For more on the pop-up, visit https://drinkup.london/cocktailweek/events/drambuie-presents-the-brass-crimson.

Hayley Aldous, senior brand manger for Drambuie, said: “The Brass & Crimson represents Drambuie’s biggest investment in London Cocktail Week to date and really emphasises our commitment to the London cocktail scene.

“The Brass & Crimson is a huge opportunity for us to engage with the trade as well as our discerning consumers and we’re really excited about seeing how people re-create the classic Rusty Nail.”

Drambuie, which is a blend of aged scotch whisky with a secret combination of spices, heather honey and herbs, is distributed in the UK by Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands.

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