Earlier this month we held a cocktail competition in Newcastle upon Tyne for local mixologists… and we certainly weren’t disappointed!

Being the purveyor of the finest spirits, we love seeing how our versatile range can be used to concoct deliciously innovative drinks. In particular, Our Head of Specialist and Online Retail, Kieron Hall, has always had a creative thirst for putting together expertly crafted cocktails. And, since we’re usually lucky enough to try these tasty tipples first-hand, we’re certainly not complaining…

Harnessing his passion for the industry, Kieron put together an exciting cocktail competition for local bartenders in Newcastle upon Tyne. The competition would give contenders a real chance to show their flair and artistry within the field, whilst having some fun along the way. The theme was as follows: The cocktail was to be developed under the theme ‘exploration. This could be interpreted however the contender best saw fit, be that a flavour profile, historical, geographical or magical – the possibilities were endless.

We had a total of 10 entries from some of Newcastle’s most prestigious bars. They included Alvinos, Popolo, Laundrette, Bonbar, Newcastle Malmaison, As You Like It, Mr Lynch, Pleased To Meet You, Voodoo Lounge (Darlington) and Night Caps.

Some were inspired by famous Pirates and Explorers which allowed for interesting back stories to their cocktails. Others explored their own surroundings, foraging for ingredients in local parks to create cordials and syrups for their drinks. Overall, there was an outstanding standard of cocktails from all of the entries.The winning Cocktail was from William Campbell-Rowntree at Alvinos Bar. Will used his own exploration of flavours and drinks as his inspiration. He spoke passionately of how his recent journey through the world of mixed drink had lead him to realising that, more than just creating brand new cocktails and ideas, it is also about improving and elevating existing drinks. In his quest to elevate the humble Gin & Tonic, Will created his drink the ‘Fresh Start Fizz’. A combination of Lakes Gin Explorer Edition , Lakes Elderflower Gin Liqueur, Fresh Lime juice, and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic was combined in a Collins glass. He then created a foam using Fresh Cucumber juice, Egg White, IPA reduction and Black Pepper. The foam was layered over the top of his drink, and finished with a crack of fresh black pepper.

This was followed by our 2nd and 3rd place winners, Kieran Grieves from Bonbar in 2nd and Joseph Miller from Newcastle’s Malmaison Hotel in 3rd.

Williams reward for winning will see him featured in the Summer issue of Savour Magazine with his winning cocktail. He also received a complementary trip to the Lakes Distillery with an overnight stay at The Trout Hotel. On his second day in the Lakes, Will has the option to ‘Explore the Lakes’, taking a canyoning trip through some of the Lake Districts most beautiful spots, or ‘Explore the Soul’, and enjoy a Spa day in one of Cumbria’s top venues.

A big congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to all who entered! We loved seeing your innovative creations and we definitely have a few new exciting recipes for our next dinner party!

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