Bristol bartender wins UK No.3 Gin competition

24th June, 2013 by Ros Branagan

A Bristol bartender has been crowned the winner of No.3 Gin’s ‘Hit the Right Key’ competition to find the UK’s best gin-based cocktail.

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Matt Fairhurst of Milk Thistle at Quay Head House has won No.3 Gin’s Hit the Right Key Challenge

Matt Fairhurst of Milk Thistle at Quay Head House was on song in the ‘Hit the Right Key Challenge’, held in the rarefied surroundings of the No.3 bar at the Royal Albert Hall on 17 June.

Competitors were challenged to come with up a fresh take on the classic gin and tonic using Berry Bros. & Rudd’s award-winning No.3 London Dry Gin.

Fairhurst’s winning concoction, one of just five entries that made it through to the final, used an innovative combination of outlandish ingredients such as grapefruit sherbet and a juniper and coriander seed olive oil, along with egg white and yellow chartreuse.

A panel of industry experts, including the gin expert @ginmonkey, chose Fairhurst’s ‘The Curious No.3’ as the winning entry, on a day that saw the finalists treated to a drink at the Dukes Hotel in Mayfair, the spiritual home of the gin martini.

The competitors also had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes tour of the Royal Albert Hall, and were shown around the oldest wine and spirits merchant in Britain, Berry Bros. at No.3 St. James’s Street.

The ‘Hit the Right Key’ competition was named in honour of both the rich musical traditions of the Royal Albert Hall and the key design on the front of the No.3 bottle, which symbolises the key used to unlock the historical Parlour at Berry Bros. and Rudd.

Competition organiser No.3 recently announced that it is working to help prevent the decline of the juniper berry, the key botanical ingredient in gin, which is threatened with extinction by the spread of a fungus-like disease, Phytophthora austrocedrae.

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