Funkin brings back Innovation Lab to inspire bartenders

Alistair Kelsey Funkin

Workshops are to be run in Bristol and Manchester by cocktail specialist Funkin to offer inspiration for bartenders on the latest innovative techniques and trends.

The Funkin Innovation Lab is returning in May after its successful debut last year, featuring specialists in the worlds of food and drink providing hands-on training.

It is partnering Crucible, the London-based creative hub for bartenders founded by Stu Bale, to design and run the workshop sessions which will focus on acids and sugars.

Drinks specialist Alistair Kelsey (pictured) from Crucible and Michelin-star chef Nurdin Topham will lead the training, bringing their different perspectives as a bartender and a chef, exploring opportunities for innovation with cocktails and garnishes.

It will be illustrated by Funkin-inspired cocktails, designed by Alistair and Nurdin, which demonstrate technique, composition and flavour. Bartender Aisté Valiukaité, who has been Funkin’s Innovation Champion since last year, will also participate and demonstrate her cocktail style.

Alistair said: “After leading last year’s Funkin Innovation Lab on non-alcoholic cocktails, I’m thoroughly looking forward to rolling up my sleeves with bartenders in Bristol and Manchester, exploring acids and sugars and delving deep into the composition and balance of cocktails.

“Bartenders should expect to be inspired and gain a huge amount of new and valuable knowledge that they can use to expand their repertoire and add excitement to their menus.”

The event will also encourage bartenders to enter this year’s competition to find a new Innovation Champion for Funkin, helping them to develop innovative winning cocktails. All delegates will receive a copy of The Cocktail Competition Handbook by BarLifeUK’s Andy Ives.

Aisté said: “Funkin Innovation Lab is a great way to come face to face with bartenders and offer them something of value to develop their career. I encourage bartenders to participate and make the most of this great opportunity where they can mix with the best in the business, ask questions and get to know Funkin’s vast portfolio of top-quality products.”

Funkin Innovation Lab will be held at The Milk Thistle in Bristol on Tuesday May 15 and Science + Industry at Cane & Grain in Manchester on Tuesday May 22. To attend, bartenders should email or contact their Funkin representative. Places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis as spaces are limited.

Funkin managing director Andrew King said: “We pride ourselves on being close to the on-trade, as we consistently look to stay on trend and offer customers the very best, whether that be products, training or inspiration.

“This year, we are delighted to collaborate for Innovation Champion and Innovation Lab with Crucible, whose ethos very much reflects our own. Crucible offers bartenders a collaborative and safe space to bring ideas to life and learn new techniques whilst we seek to provide bartenders with the tools they need to succeed.”

Previous Swift named Britain's best bar in GQ Food & Drink Awards
Next Semi-finalists revealed for Diageo Reserve's GB World Class competition