Funkin names its ‘innovation champion’ bartender

Daniel Redman-HubleyDan Redman-Hubley (pictured) from Trailer Happiness in west London has won the brand ambassador role of “Innovation Champion” for cocktail mix brand Funkin.

He beat other leading mixologists and bartenders at the final of a competition where they were challenged to come up with a future concept for the Funkin range that they believed would shake up the cocktail industry.

They also had to create an original cocktail using a new fruit purée made from cape gooseberries which is to be launched into the on-trade in December.

As part of his new role, Dan will provide feedback to the Funkin team from the front line of the cocktail scene, helping the brand continue to deliver what the bartending community wants and needs. The new role will be part-time for one year and includes a £1,000 up-front cash prize.

The final of Funkin’s Innovation Champion competition was held at top cocktail bar Nightjar in London where five finalists from across the UK were introduced to a new fruit purée, cape gooseberry, which was developed by Funkin in collaboration with Nightjar.

Also known as the physalis, the cape gooseberry is used widely in high-end cocktail bars due to its unique taste and distinctive appearance. The berry has a smooth, waxy orange-yellow skin and juicy pulp with small seeds.

The fruit, which is naturally sweet in flavour with a hint of bitterness, pairs well with apple and ginger and also goes well with chocolate. The purée will be made available across the UK in the on-trade from the beginning of December.

Contestants were given two hours to experiment with the purée before creating an original cocktail that showcased their personality and reflected the current cocktail market.

Dan wowed the judges with his Brick Lane Breakfast cocktail (pictured below) – his take on a lassi, the traditional Indian yoghurt-based drink. He made it by mixing Funkin Cape Gooseberry purée with CapuCana – the cachaça launched in the UK this summer by Gin Mare owner Global Premium Brands.

The recipe also included Trois Rivières rhum agricole from Martinique, garam masala honey syrup, kefir yoghurt and absinthe bitters, plus a garnish of a poppadum dipped in mango chutney.

Finalists were also asked to prepare a presentation prior to the competition telling judges about their innovative plans for Funkin.

The other four finalists were Stuart Hudson and Andrea Montague of consultancy and events company Forgotten Hospitality, Steven Dick from Suburban Bar in Wimbledon in London and Matthew Coates from Jake’s Bar & Still Room in Leeds.

The judges were mixology and Funkin consultant Ben Reed, BarLifeUK’s Simon Webster, Nightjar bar manager Marian Beke, and Funkin’s founder Alex Carlton.

Marian also created a Sour cocktail for the event using the cape gooseberry purée plus gin, mezcal, baobab tree powder and smoked paprika agave syrup.

Alex said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Dan to the Funkin team and look forward to working with him in the future.

“We were truly impressed with all of the contestants’ innovative cocktails and their ideas for Funkin. Dan really embraced the brand and we are excited to work with him to ensure Funkin remains a go-to for bars, clubs, pubs and cocktail-conscious consumers.

“He successfully demonstrated his knowledge of Funkin and passion for the cocktail scene with his Brick Lane Breakfast, which speaks to the market and typifies his creative nature.”

Dan said: “I am delighted to be working with Funkin to help them continue their great work in supplying the industry with world-class products”

Brick Lane BreakfastBrick Lane Breakfast by Dan Redman-Hubley

50ml Funkin Cape Gooseberry purée
40ml CapuCana cachaça
15ml Chai-infused Trois Rivières rum
40ml Kefir yoghurt
2 drops Absinthe bitters
20ml Garam masala honey syrup

Shake and garnish with a poppadum dipped in mango chutney and a sprinkle of saffron plus a shot of lager on the side.

Cape Sour by Marian Beke

50 ml Gin and mezcal mix
25 ml Funkin Cape Gooseberry purée
1 half Fresh lime
1 half barspoon Baobab tree powder
1 dash Smoked paprika agave syrup

Shake and serve up with bamboo charcoal salt and a cape gooseberry dipped in chocolate fondue.

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