Ali Reynolds (pictured) from Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London has been crowned winner of this year’s Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind competition.
He used Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak whisky as the base of Family Guy’s Tea, combining it with apricot liqueur infused with Earl Grey tea, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Green Chartreuse.
He was one of 11 bartenders from around the UK competing at the final at Callooh Callay in Shoreditch, east London, demonstrating their knowledge of whisky as well as their cocktail creativity.
The judges were bartender Roman Foltan from Artesian Bar at London’s Langham hotel, brand ambassador and whisky expert Mark Thomson, and Kirsten Grant Meikle, a William Grant & Sons family member and director of prestige at the company.
The competition called on bartenders to showcase a signature serve using Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak, Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Vat or Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Distillery Edition. They also had to take part in a quick-fire buzzer round which tested their knowledge of whisky.
Second place went to Ernest Reid from Boisdale of Canary Wharf in London while third was Alix Nardella from Dandelyan at the Mondrian hotel at Sea Containers on London’s South Bank. They are pictured below with Ali.
Mark said: “The simplicity of Ali’s Family Guy’s Tea serve was key to its success. His ingredients beautifully complemented the Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak to create a fresh, clean and light drink which is easily replicable in bars.”
Sarah Harding, senior brand manager for Glenfiddich, said: “We had a seriously impressive competition on our hands this year. The finalists were outstanding and the creations they served up were a wonderful example of the unique ways in which Glenfiddich can be used in the ever-experimental world of modern-day cocktail-making.
“Ali showed a genuine passion and understanding of scotch malt and his innovative approach to his Family Guy’s Tea serve demonstrated the versatility and enhanced the taste of the Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak expression.
“We hope the competition inspires other bartenders to experiment with malt whisky to continue to drive consumer interest and further grow the category in the on-trade.”
Ali has won a VIP trip to the Glenfiddich distillery and £1,000. Glenfiddich will also work with him to showcase his serve at brand events throughout 2015.
The other finalists were Jamie Ireland from G&V Royal Mile Hotel in Edinburgh, Alex Palumbo from Plateau in London, Andrea Signanini from The Bar at The Dorchester in London, Dominic Willox from The Tippling House in Aberdeen, Isabella Newman from The Earl in Bath, Steve Georgiou from Bourne & Hollingsworth in London, Keivan Nemati from The Zetter Townhouse in London and Michael Lynch from The Devil’s Advocate in Edinburgh. Twelfth finalist, Henry Yates from Boilermaker in Nottingham, was unable to attend the final.
Family Guy’s Tea by Ali Reynolds
40ml Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak
15ml Crème de abricot infused with Earl Grey tea
10ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
5ml Green Chartreuse
Stir and serve over ice with lemon zest and a lavender sprig.