Winner named in inaugural Winchester Cocktail Week competition

New Forest’s Nest

A bartender from the New Forest has won the inaugural Winchester Cup after creating a cocktail using ingredients such as crab apple, gorse, elderflower and quince.

Maurizio Anders Laudato of Chewton Glen Hotel in New Milton beat four other finalists in the competition held as part of the first Winchester Cocktail Week in Hampshire.

His drink, New Forest’s Nest (pictured top), was made with gin redistilled with silver needle tea and crab apple plus gorse and elderflower bitters, lemon juice, locally sourced bantam eggs and foraged quince jelly.

It was served on a tray with a copy of Frederick Marryat’s classic 19th-century children’s book, The Children of the New Forest.

Maurizio (pictured below) is the first winner of the Winchester Cup trophy, made in steel by LaserCell based on the artwork of local illustrator Simon Harmer. He also wins two places on a cookery course at Hartnett, Holder & Co Backstage – the purpose-built cookery school at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest.

Maurizio Anders Laudato

The judging panel (pictured bottom) included Sam Carter, senior ambassador for Bombay Sapphire gin which is made at Laverstoke Mill north of Winchester. He was joined by master of wine Susie Barrie and Marcus Roe from Cabinet Rooms, the organiser of Winchester Cocktail Week. They scored each drink on its name, appearance, aroma, flavour and use of local produce.

The other finalists (pictured below) were:

James Harding of Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest, with The Smokehouse, using Lime Wood’s own gin, Cointreau Blood Orange liqueur, Aztec chocolate bitters, and Maker’s Mark Bourbon fat washed with pancetta from Lime Wood’s smokehouse. It was smoked with applewood chips soaked in bourbon before being garnished with pancetta, chocolate and salt.

Luke Condell from Mango Thai Tapas Restaurant & Bar in Southampton with Straight Out The Common using ingredients he foraged and sourced himself within one mile of Southampton Common. The drink was made with apple-blossom and nettle-infused gin, sour apple blossom concentrate, rosehip and blackberry syrup and cox apple, bay and nettle pressed juice. It was served on a bed of leaves, appearing as if it were emerging from a forest floor.

Andy Gallagher of Chewton Glen Hotel who made a Thai and Dry Martini using homemade chilli and lemongrass vodka, lychee liqueur, and locally produced seaweed syrup, garnished with crispy dried seaweed.

Chris Hoare of Milk bar in Reading with Dark Sails, using a Japanese coffee syphon to infuse Red Bonny Dark Rum, Patron XO Café and dandelion coffee made locally by his mother. He served this with a white chocolate and hazelnut foam, made with aquafaba, or chickpea brine. The drink was garnished with hazelnut sugar spirals.

winchester finalists

Gary Whiter, co-founder of Cabinet Rooms, said that at the heart of the competition was a desire to promote creativity with flavours and to encourage the sharing of new ideas and best practice among Winchester’s bartenders.

He added: “It’s probably fair to say that Winchester is a little behind some other cities in terms of having a cocktail scene but we hope that through inviting talent into the city – as well as celebrating the talent already here – the Winchester Cup will inspire hospitality staff to get involved and help drive the city forward.”

After the judging, Susie said: “I had no idea what to expect when I was asked to judge the inaugural Winchester Cup, but the standard of the entrants was genuinely astonishing.

“It really is so exciting to know that we have such talent, passion and creativity on our doorstep here in Hampshire.

“Massive thanks to Gary and Marcus of Cabinet Rooms for making Winchester Cocktail Week happen – what a superb addition to the increasingly impressive Hampshire food and drink scene.”

The final took place in Winchester’s Wintonian Room in the Guildhall Winchester on February 1 at the start of the first Winchester Cocktail Week which runs until Sunday (February 7). Click here for more about Winchester Cocktail Week.

winchester judges

Pictures by Adrienne Photography.

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