Andrew Lennie from The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh has been announced as winner in the inaugural competition seeking cocktails made with Talisker single malt.
He was one of six bartenders from around the UK who competed in the two-day final on the isle of Skye after responding to the challenge to create a recipe inspired by the whisky’s marketing campaign, “Made by the Sea”.
Day one of the “Race to Skye” final started with the Loch Ness Mixer challenge. Each bartender was given five minutes to mix a long drink using a Talisker variant with two ingredients and a garnish of choice and present their creation to the panel of judges from Diageo Reserve including ambassadors David Sinclair, Ali Reynolds and Colin Dunn.
Challenge two was the Talisker Brainstorm which took place during the journey to Skye, in which each contestant had two minutes to answer as many questions about Talisker as possible, testing the bartenders’ knowledge of the brand’s history and the scotch category.
On day two, contestants travelled to the Talisker distillery to test their palates in the Map of the Skye round in which each finalist was tasked with identifying the flavour profile of four Talisker expressions, before deconstructing a Talisker serve by naming the five ingredients, including the expression used.
That evening at a gala dinner, the final round saw the bartenders present their Hip Flask serve. Each finalist had to create a drink before their journey to Skye, travelling with it until decanting it from the hip flask and serving to the judges for scoring.
The other finalists were Rebecca Bevvy of The Laundrette Group in Manchester, Dave Ali of The Finnieston in Glasgow, Daniel Bovey of Be at One in Bristol, Mike Pendergast of East London Liquor Company in London, and Charles Roche from Scout in London.
Selected after heats in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Bournemouth, Bristol and London, the six finalists are pictured above with the three Diageo Reserve ambassadors.
Andrew, pictured below, has been awarded the title of honorary Talisker ambassador which will see him take part in at least three events throughout the year on a paid basis, supporting the whisky brand in telling its story and communicating its on-going Made by the Sea campaign.
He will also be involved in social media for Talisker and benefit from an enhanced PR campaign to raise his profile.
Andrew said: “I’m incredibly excited to be named the first-ever ‘Race to Skye’ champion. It has been an amazing couple of days and competing in the heart of Skye has been unforgettable.
“It’s been a truly rewarding experience and I have learnt so much more about Talisker and scotch throughout this journey.
“I’m looking forward to working with this wonderful scotch brand to tell its rich story in my new honorary ambassador role.”
David Sinclair, whisky ambassador at Diageo Reserve, added: “Andrew is an incredibly worthy winner and we’re delighted to welcome him into the Talisker fold.
“He and all of the finalists showcased their knowledge, skill and passion for scotch, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them all from entry to final phase.”
Loch Ness Mixer Challenge: Would you go to the sea bed with me?
50ml Talisker 10 Year Old
30ml Smoked rhubarb syrup
15ml Fresh lime juice
2 dashes Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters
Shake the whisky, syrup and lime juice and double strain. Top with ginger beer over cubed ice. Add the Moondog Bitters. Garnish with smoked rhubarb water over hot stones.
Hip Flask Challenge: Home Talk
100ml Talisker 57° North
100ml Jasmine tea with fresh blackberry
40ml Akashi Tai plum sake
4 dashes Peach bitters
All ingredients added to a mixing glass and strained into hip flask – no ice.