Gareth Evans proves he does Noe His Bourbon

Gareth Evans portraitGareth Evans (pictured), group bar manager for chef Jason Atherton’s restaurants in London, is off to Kentucky after winning a competition for Jim Beam bourbon.

He impressed judges with his creativity and knowledge of the whiskey at the Noe Your Bourbon final which featured bartenders from across the UK.

He invented a cocktail called White Said Fred which was a carbonated mix of Jim Beam White Label with Sacred Spiced Vermouth, peach liqueur, Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit and a dash of absinthe.

The final was held at Joe’s Southern Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden and included a prize of two places at a Thanksgiving lunch on November 21 at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Brick Lane, London, which is a replica of the distillery’s visitors centre in Kentucky. The lunch will be attended by the bourbon’s master distiller Fred Noe.

Gareth also won a Jim Beam guitar and will be taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to the actual distillery in Kentucky. As group bar manager for Atherton’s growing empire of restaurants, Gareth heads London bars at Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern and The Blind Pig,

Other finalists were Lee Potter Cavanagh of The Big Easy in Chelsea, London, James Wall of London restaurant group Burger & Lobster, Troels Knudsen of Mash London in Soho, Ruairidh Muir of Raoul’s Bar in Oxford, Joe Macbeth of The Coco Lounge in Nottingham and Daniel Reid from The Maven in Leeds.

They not only had to invent an original cocktail with Jim Beam but also had to sit a comprehensive written test. They were also challenged to make a cocktail using either Red Stag by Jim Beam, Jim Beam Honey or Jim Beam Devil’s Cut with a selection of ingredients from a mystery box, which included herbs, fruit and a miscellany of fridge and store cupboard items.

The contenders presented their serves to judges Amanda Humphrey from Maxxium UK’s Mixxit team, Simon Webster of BarLifeUK and Ian McIntyre, bar manager of NOLA bar in Shoreditch, London.

Amanda said: “This special group of Noe Your Bourbon finalists made the judges’ job very difficult as the cocktails presented were all unique and highlighted the versatility of the Jim Beam portfolio. Our decision wasn’t easy, but we were thoroughly impressed with Gareth’s White Said Fred and his mystery box cocktail, ‘It’s a drink Jim, but not as we know it’.”

Maxxium UK’s marketing controller for imported whiskey, Eileen Livingston, said: “The interest in bourbon continues to grow in the UK and is further fuelled by innovation. Noe Your Bourbon created a fun and exciting setting for bartenders to showcase their knowledge of bourbon as well as their creativity, encouraging them to explore new ways to enjoy the Jim Beam family of brands.”

White Said Fred by Gareth Evans

30ml Jim Beam White
35ml Sacred Spiced Vermouth
15ml Briottet Crème de Pêche
15ml Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit
2 dashes Absinthe
1 dash Acid phosphate
25ml Filtered water

Combine ingredients and chill down as much as possible, stirring. Carbonate using a Sodastream. Decant into 125ml bottles, label and serve alongside a rocks glass containing a large chunk of ice and grapefruit zest.

Previous Second site to be launched for The Rum Kitchen
Next Stonegate invests in new Slug and Lettuce