Will Campbell-Rowntree of Artesian at The Langham hotel has been named the winner of No 3 Gin’s third annual Unlock Taste cocktail competition.
This year’s final, which took place at Berry Bros & Rudd, saw six top UK bartenders compete in a series of challenges that put their knowledge, flair and creativity to the test.
Using No 3 Gin, participants were tasked with re-creating, re-imagining and re-inventing two iconic gin cocktails – the Martini and the Gin & Tonic.
A surprise cocktail ‘duel’, held in Pickering Place, the site of the UK’s last official duel at the end of the eighteenth century, also challenged the bartenders to create a selection of other classic gin cocktails from mystery boxes while working against the clock.
Will’s Layer Mill and King’s Revival cocktails impressed the judging panel, which included revered bartender Alessandro Palazzi, Simon Difford of Diffords Guide, Samantha Ryan of DrinkUp London and No 3 Gin brand ambassador Richard Gillam, ultimately securing his win.
In addition to the accolade of being No 3 Gin’s Unlock Taste UK Champion, Will will jet off to Hong Kong for a five-day luxury experience with £200 spending money and lead a guest shift at one of the world’s top 50 bars.
Will said: “I’m humbled to have won this year’s competition, especially when up against some really talented bartenders. I’ve always liked No 3 because it’s a classic, juniper-led, great-quality gin, and this prompted me to enter in the first place.
“For my Layer Mill, I drew on the history of Berry Bros & Rudd and its origin as a coffee grocer, using oloroso sherry, Good Ordinary Claret, simple syrup and coffee water to match the bitter-sweetness of a classic G&T.
“The King’s Revival was my take on the classic Martini, which I chose to keep quite simple, but added The King’s Ginger and again Good Ordinary Claret to make it stand out.”