Monkey Shoulder names winners for London Cocktail Week bar

monkey shoulder

Three bartenders from Glasgow have won the chance to run their own pop-up bar at London Cocktail Week this year in a competition run for Monkey Shoulder whisky.

The brand’s Ultimate Bartender Challenge final was won by a team called The Cowbell, made up of Stuart Bale, Abi Clephane and Ervin Trykowski.

Held in east London, it was the culmination of six months of work by teams to develop a winning bar concept supported by the brand, industry mentors and guest bartenders.

Their concept bar took inspiration from a well-known sketch on US comedy show Saturday Night Live known as “More Cowbell” which featured actor Christopher Walken. It displayed hanging cowbells, pallet-built tables, festoon lighting and strobe lights with music being an eclectic mix of house, techno and classic 80s hits.

Dressed head to toe in tie-dye aprons, the team pulled out all the stops with the fastest service and a creative scotch whisky cocktail list such as the Glasgow Kiss – a mix of Monkey Shoulder, lemon juice, egg white, honey water and Angostura Bitters with a Buckfast tonic wine float.

The competition was designed for bartenders to work as a team to create an entire bar rather than just a one-off cocktail. It considered speed of service, cocktail quality, hosting ability, setting an atmosphere and ability to stock-take efficiently.

The Cowbell on Monkey’s Shoulder pop-up bar will run at London Cocktail Week from October 6 to 12 in Shorts Gardens in Covent Garden. Click here for details.

Monkey Shoulder UK brand ambassador Grant Neave said: “The Ultimate Bartender Challenge is a competition about getting bartenders to work as a team and to showcase their vision for what new bars focused about great hospitality, fun and amazing cocktails could be.

“We wanted to support the next generation of bartenders and this is a fantastic way to give these up-and-comers their first major foray into bar ownership.

“The pop-up will showcase a team and idea that we, alongside industry mentors, have deemed to be representative of the future. It’s going to be exciting.”


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