Megs DeMeulenaere from The Pond Dalston in east London has won the first heat in a global bartender competition for Martin Miller’s Gin offering the prize of a trip to Iceland.
She took first place in the We Are The Tastemakers competition held at Merchant House bar in the City of London, where 12 finalists were set a series of challenges across three rounds.
The first round, in which the finalists had to produce an original Martin Miller’s cocktail, saw an incredible array of creativity, from branded bottles to homemade macaroons paired with cocktails and even Martin Miller’s Gin tattoos.
Round two saw the field narrowed to six contestants, who had to draw classic gin cocktails out of a hat, before adding their own personal twist in just eight minutes.
The standard of the competitors’ creations from both rounds was so impressive that the judges were unable to pick two finalists as originally planned and modified the final round to accommodate the top three.
The final round saw Megs face freelance mixologist Celia Schoonraad and Dominic Whisson from the American Bar at The Savoy in London, presented with three mystery boxes containing a variety of unusual ingredients.
Dominic produced First Bourne which comprised yuzu juice, elderberry liqueur, rose liqueur, egg white, Ribena and Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength gin.
Celia created I Pine for You made from half Martin Miller’s standard 40% and half Westbourne Strength over pine, Cocchi vermouth, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, Bénédictine, Angostura Bitters and lemon oil.
Megs developed Miller Thyme which contained lemon juice, sherry, damson jam, lemon thyme and Martin Miller’s Gin.
The judges included Martin Miller’s brand manager Liam Murphy, bartender Ally Martin of Peg + Patriot in east London, and Nate Brown of London Bar Consultants, which operates Merchant House.
Megs is the first of five winners from around the world selected to travel to Iceland with Martin Miller’s Gin. The second heat of We Are The Tastemakers will take place in Edinburgh later this month.
Martin Miller’s Gin is made with the purest Icelandic water which gives the gin its distinctive, gentle bouquet and silky soft mouth feel.