British gin-sake hybrid wins Diageo’s Show Your Spirit

30th May, 2013 by Becky Paskin

Jinzu, a blend of gin and sake created by British bartender Dee Davies, has been named the winning product at Diageo’s Show Your Spirit competition.

Jinzu Dee Davies Show Your Spirit Diageo

Jinzu by Dee Davies is the winner of the inuagural Diageo Show Your Spirit competition

The innovative new spirit, which is described as having the flavour of gin with a creaminess leant by the sake, will join the likes of Johnnie Walker and Cîroc vodka in Diageo’s Reserve Brand portfolio.

Having beaten hundreds of bartenders from across Western Europe to the final, Davies, from Hyde & Co in Bristol, spent a week at Diageo’s innovation centre alongside three other finalists to develop her idea for Jinzu with the help of liquid development and packaging design experts.

Her product beat a vanilla and blackberry-infused English whisky by Naomi Mason from Yum Yum Ninja in Brighton, UK, a spiced genever by Fjalar Goud from Mystique in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and a tea leaf distillate by Dennis Zoppi from Smile Tree in Turin, Italy.

Jörg Meyer, Show Your Spirit Judge and owner of Le Lion in Hamburg, said: “Choosing the winner of Show Your Spirit was an extremely hard battle however Dee’s product had all the aspects we were looking for, from the design of the bottle and liquid to the story.

“We debated whether a gin should win as it already exists as a category, however with the mix of sake it is so special and has created a new category.”

Noel de Munck, director of food & beverage, Hilton UK & Ireland, added: “Jinzu has a great story and a lot of potential, not only as a stand-alone drink but also to be enjoyed with a meal. I see this as a product that can sit within the sake category as well as gin category.”

As part of her prize, Davies will receive 5% of the net sales of Jinzu from its first five years on the market, while an additional 5% will go into a bartender initiatives fund to create a legacy.

“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m extremely proud my idea was selected as the winning product,” Davies said. “My fellow competitors were tough competition and all had outstanding ideas. It was a tense week, but the learning and experience working alongside the Diageo experts has been invaluable. To be part of a first for the drinks industry has to be the highlight of my career so far and I’m very excited for the future of our spirit.”

Jinzu will be officially unveiled at the Diageo World Class Global final onboard a Mediterranean cruise on 4 July.

Watch the finalists in action and how they fared presenting their ideas to the judges:

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