‘Visionary’ ideas help bartender win gin and bitters competition

Carl Brown Senior Service Julep

Carl Brown (pictured) from Dishoom in London has won a competition challenging bartenders to create a twist on a vintage cocktail and a “visionary” drink.

His two drinks were a Senior Service Julep and Mother’s Fix, which used a homemade tangerine shrub that was smoked and then aged. See below for the recipes.

The Vintage to Visionary competition was a collaboration between The Bitter Truth bitters and liqueurs and gin producer Hayman Distillers and run by Love Drinks, the UK distributor of the two companies.

The final at the Queen of Hoxton in east London featured eight bartenders, competing for the top prize of £1,000. The judges included Alexander Hauck, co-founder of The Bitter Truth, and James Hayman, managing director of Hayman’s.

The competition was so close that the judges awarded two joint second places to Gabor Onufer from Claridges in London and Ami St Claire from Sohe in Newcastle.

Ami was praised for her homemade cocktail candy floss and gin-soaked marshmallows and Gabor for his excellently made Voyager which used claret and was mixed in a crystal wine decanter.

Carl, whose job title “daru-wallah” literally translates as the “drinks guy”, said: “We use both Hayman’s gins and The Bitter Truth in our bars so, for me, this was a competition that I wanted to enter and win.

“Making great drinks was just one element of the competition. I really enjoyed researching the two companies – Hayman’s because of their history and heritage and The Bitter Truth because of their passion and commitment to making cocktail ingredients in order to recreate drinks that might have been lost forever were it not for them.

“What really shone out for me was the commitment from both companies to using the best-quality ingredients which is why I wanted to create excellent drinks for the judging panel to enjoy.”

The other competitors (pictured below) included Niall McGloin from Smokestack in Leeds, Michael Mann from COLD Bar at City of London Distillery, Tom De Santis from Electrik in Manchester, Amir Javaid from Epernay in Manchester and Lucy Horncastle from NOLA in east London.

Vintage to Visionary 2014 Contestants

Senior Service Julep by Carl Brown

40ml Hayman’s Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin
20ml The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur
15ml English honey syrup (1:1)
3 dashes The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Churn ingredients with crushed ice in an Indian copper julep cup and then cap with more ice. Garnish with a bushel of mint and twist of grapefruit.

Mother’s Fix by Carl Brown

100ml Shrub (see below for recipe)
30ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin
4 dashes The Bitter Truth Tonic Bitters
Dash of soda

Tap off the shrub from the barrel over chipped ice in a rocks glass. Add gin, bitters and soda. Stir. Garnish with candied orange peel.

For the shrub, combine the following ingredients with hickory smoke in barrel and leave for one week.
300ml Tangerine juice
150ml Lemon juice
25ml Fresh ginger juice
100ml Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

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