Bartenders challenged to create peat-themed whisky cocktail

Whisky Cocktail Classic winner

A competition seeking the whisky cocktails of the future has been launched by leading on-trade spirits wholesaler Speciality Drinks.

After the success of the challenge’s inaugural run last year, the nationwide search is calling on bartenders to create a new recipe on the theme of “peat”, using whisky from any country around the world, not just Scotland, from Japan to the US and Ireland.

The deadline for entries to the Whisky Cocktail Classic competition is July 15. An independent panel of judges will assess paper entries in the first round to produce a shortlist of 10 who will take part in a semi-final in London in August.

The final four will go forward to a grand final on Monday October 1 at The Whisky Show trade day in London. The winner will be taken on an all-expenses-paid trip to Islay, the home of peated whisky.

Jen Baernreuther, sales manager for Speciality Drinks, said they were encouraging bartenders to create a serve with peat at its core. “Peat is one of the most defining characteristics of a whisky and something that when well-executed can make someone fall head over heels for whisky cocktails.

“A key factor is balance – the whisky’s key characteristic needs to shine but a fair amount of creativity with other ingredients is going to be crucial to creating balance and originality.

“Whilst Islay is synonymous with peaty whiskies, we certainly don’t expect everyone to use Islay, or even scotch, whisky.”

Last year’s competition, with the theme of “scotch”, was won by Rhys Wilson of Happiness Forgets in London with The Claymore which combined Chivas Regal 12 Year Old whisky and a champagne cordial to create a “delicate Scotch Gimlet”.

Enter by submitting a full cocktail recipe and photo to by July 15.

Rhys is pictured centre with last year’s judges, leading bartender Brian Silva, Speciality Drinks co-founder Sukhinder Singh, drinks writer Alice Lascelles and bartender Matt Whiley. Picture by Simon Hanna.

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