Hix bartender wins Malt Mastermind

Lee Potter Cavanagh (pictured) of Mark’s Bar at Hix in London has emerged victorious at this year’s Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind competition.

In the final at the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, he competed against seven other top bartenders in a series of challenges to test their knowledge and their creativity and passion for whisky.

They had to devise a twist on the classic whisky cocktail, Blood & Sand, as well as their own signature serve using either Glenfiddich 12, 15 or 18 Year Old Single Malt. They were also grilled on their knowledge of whisky.

Lee won after demonstrating “an extremely high level” of knowledge on the malt category and for his original serve, Dufftown Avenue.

Second place went to Gareth Evans from Pollen Street Social in London and third went to Will Cox of Monteith’s in Edinburgh.

Now in its third year, the competition attracted more than double the entries as last year. The other finalists were Alec Dyson of Booly Mardy’s in Glasgow, Roberto Fiorillo of Mokoko in St Albans, Hertfordshire, Lee Orelowitz of London Cocktail Club in Goodge Street, London, Dominic Wright of Castle Terrace in Edinburgh, and Henry Yates of World Service in Nottingham.

The judges were Glenfiddich brand ambassador Jamie Milne, award-winning mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana of upcoming bar concept Mr Lyan and whisky expert Mark Thomson of Dramatic Whisky.

Jamie said: “This year’s competition has been truly impressive. The talent and expertise of the finalists made it extremely tough to choose the winner. The competitors demonstrated some fantastic creativity with some superb drinks being served up and real knowledge and innovation showcased.”

Ryan added: “The standard of all the finalists made judging the competition extremely difficult but it was a joy to witness so much cocktail innovation, whisky knowledge and skill with everyone bringing new and different ideas to the mix.”

As well as a trophy and the title of Malt Mastermind 2012, Lee wins £1,000 and will be taken on an exclusive VIP trip to the Glenfiddich distillery, where he will be given the chance to taste a range of rare Glenfiddich expressions.

Milne added: “The Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind competition is a fantastic platform for us to engage the brand with those who are at the forefront of getting consumers excited about the category. We hope all the finalists continue their good work to experiment with Glenfiddich and encourage new drinkers to enjoy malt whisky.”

Lee is pictured above with his cocktail, Dufftown Avenue.

Dufftown Avenue by Lee Potter Cavanagh

35ml Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
25ml Somerset 3 Year Old cider brandy
25ml Burrow Hill apple juice
5ml Sea Buckthorne juice
1 dash Bob’s liquorice bitters
1 Star anise flamed in absinthe for garnish
3 peppercorns (for smoking glass)

Flame star anise soaked in absinthe on a bar spoon. Flame peppercorns and upend glass over to catch the smoke. Add all ingredients except for the anise into a shaker. Shake hard over cubed ice and strain into a coupe. Float star anise on top of cocktail.

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