Caorunn’s Storyteller is home-grown Scot
Scottish bartender Iain Griffiths from Edinburgh’s acclaimed Bramble Bar has won the inaugural Caorunn’s Storytellers Challenge competition.
Griffiths beat three other finalists, all of whom won their national heats in the UK, the US and Spain, with his cocktail ‘The Damson Chamber’ which contained a heady mix of gin, beer and absinthe, as well as apple syrup and damson berries steamed with juniper and rowanberry. Griffiths explained the drink was inspired by the smell of Balmenach distillery (which the finalists visited on their five-day tour) and early mornings in Edinburgh, which were a “a mixture of breweries and mist”.
The competition, which was launched in March this year, was designed to find the best Caorunn cocktail inspired by the gin’s Scottish heritage as well as the five Celtic botanicals used to produce it: rowanberry, col blush apple, bog myrtle, heather and dandelion.
Finalists William Underwood (M&C Consultancy, Plymouth, England), Leslie Ross (Beavers Ice House, Houston), and Maria Mayora (High Tech Tamarises, Bilbao), along with Griffiths enjoyed five days of immersion into Scottish culture before the final itself which was held on 3 September, which involved a tour of some of Edinburgh’s finest bars, a trip to the Balmenach distillery, a Caorunn dinner, a highland games experience, as well as a cocktail masterclass.
The four finalists had to present their cocktails to the panel of judges (which included Simon Difford, Gintime’s Geraldine Coates, Ryan Chetiyawardana – creative director of Mr Lyan, and Caorunn’s brand ambassador Ervin Trykowski), explaining how the cocktail was linked to Caorunn.
As a winner, Griffiths received £1,500 and his drink will be promoted as the international Caorunn signature cocktail.
Caorunn brand manager Ibolya Bakos said: “Caorunn is delighted to host this new competition to champion creativity across the globe. The innovative ideas behind the finalist’s cocktails have been outstanding and perfectly tie-in with Caorunn’s reputation as a modern, sophisticated gin with a rich heritage.
Iain’s winning cocktail is a truly original, inventive drink and the story behind it is exciting and inspiring.The competition was very close and Caorunn is delighted to have witnessed some of the world’s best bartending skills.”