Swizzle Masters Botanic Gin champion revealed
The first heat of 2015 challenged bartenders to create an original Botanic Gin cocktail, but it was Mihai Fetcu who stole the show with his winning creation, Round of Applause.
Entrants were set a specific brief to craft a cocktail using Whitley Neill gin, two raw botanicals and at least a dash of Wenneker Liqueurs.
The competition was hosted at the Harvey Nichols OXO Tower bar in South Bank, London, and comprising the judging panel were Jonny Neill, founder of Whitley Neill gin; OXO Tower bar manager Ian Goodman, general manager Nick Jarman, assistant bar manager Sandro Lyhs and associate publisher and events director of The Spirits Business Daisy Jones.
Tending the bar on the day was OXO Tower’s bartender, Pasquale Parascandolo.
Judges were impressed by the level of innovation and creativity entrants displayed with their choice of ingredients, but unfortunately were left feeling a little disappointed when many of the recipes failed to champion the complex flavours of Whitley Neill.
Lhys commented: “Some of the cocktails were so flavourful that you couldn’t taste the Whitley Neill gin.
“However the overall quality of the drinks was good and some recipes were quite adventurous.”
Second place was awarded to James Chandler for English Country Club, while third place was given to Joshua Powell for his recipe, Midnight in Africa.
Fetcu’s recipe will now go through to the semi-final in October, when the winning drinks from throughout the year will be recreated once more and judged against each other.
Five drinks will then be chosen to go through to the grand final in November, and the bartender behind the winning recipe will be crowned Swizzle Master 2015 and win £1,000.
The next Wenneker Swizzle Masters round is Savoury Scotch, featuring Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, when our judges will be seeking savoury, well-balanced recipes that complement the base spirit.
Bartenders have until 15 February to submit their recipes online at www.swizzlemasters.com.
Click through to the following page to see the winning recipes.
The winners of the Botanic Gin heat:
1st: Round of Applause by Mihai Fetcu
Ingredients: 45ml Whitley Neill gin, 35ml Wenneker Cherry Brandy, 15ml Carpano Antica vermouth, 5ml maple syrup, 5ml light molasses, 1tbsp black pepper, 1tbsp cloves, champagne to top, orange zest garnish
Method: Muddle black pepper and cloves in mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and ice, and stir until well chilled. Double strain into chilled champagne saucer and add champagne. Garnish with orange zest.
2nd: English Country Club by James Chandler
Ingredients: 50ml Whitley Neill gin, 12.5ml Wenneker Strawberry Liqueur, 10ml maple syrup, 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 egg white, 6 mint leaves
Method: Lightly press mint leaves and add all ingredients to shaker. Dry shake, then hard shake with cubed ice. Double strain into chilled coupe and spray lemon zest over the top of the drink, rubbing zest around rim to finish. Garnish with mint leaf and a slice of strawberry.
3rd: Midnight in Africa by Josh Powell
Ingredients: 35ml Whitley Neill gin, 20ml Wenneker Chocolate, 10ml Wenneker Orange Curaçao, 10ml freshly squeezed lime juice, 10ml vanilla gomme, cava to top, 1 physalis, 2in-thick orange peel,
Method: Muddle physalis and orange peel in the bottom of a shaker. Add remaining ingredients. Shake briskly and fine strain into frozen coupe. Top with cava and garnish with physalis.