Wenneker Swizzle Masters Blood and Sand results

26th October, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

Bartenders in the final round of the Swizzle Masters 2017 were charged with the task of creating the classic Scotch serve Blood and Sand, which takes its name from Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 silent film.

The final heat of The Wenneker Swizzle Masters 2017 gave bartenders the task of creating the classic Scotch serve Blood and Sand. Named after Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 silent film Blood and Sand – which is based on the 1909 bullfighting novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez – the cocktail recipe is said to have first appeared in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. According to Craddock, the formula for the original Blood and Sand is equal parts Scotch whisky, Cherry Heering Liqueur, orange juice and sweet vermouth. We challenged bartenders to put their own twist on the classic whisky cocktail using Dewar’s 12 Year Old as the base spirit and at least a dash of Wenneker Liqueurs.

Forming the judging panel this month were Nicola Thomson, director at Fifteen71; Julie Campbell, wine and spirit consultant; and me, Nicola Carruthers, news, web and social editor at The Spirits Business. Each recipe was scored on its methodology, presentation, aroma, balance and name. Judges gathered at private members’ club The Kings Head in London’s Dalston for the third instalment of this year’s competition, where bartender Michal Katiuszyn crafted the top 10 selected recipes to their exact specifications.

Our panel was pleased with the standard and variety of cocktails, which, for the most part, championed the brief and were balanced, easy­-to­-drink serves.

Claiming a spot in the final was Wish and Craving by Roger Javier Guevara Talavera – a vibrant entry that took our tastebuds by surprise. The “fruity and refreshing” serve combined Dewar’s 12 Year Old, Wenneker Butterscotch, Wenneker Mango, ice cider, tamarind juice, egg white, and chocolate bitters.

Of the serve, Campbell said: “It’s easy to make, and it looks interesting with a nice garnish. It’s a well­-balanced Sour­-style drink, and you can really taste the chocolate bitters on the finish.”

Thomson praised the drink’s “long length” and its “wonderful smoky chocolate” notes.

Also clinching a place in the final was the “creative” Bitter Sweet Shore by Solomon Sanderson, a blend of Dewar’s 12 Year Old, Wenneker Chocolate Mint, Wenneker Cherry Brandy and Martini Rosso. “It had a uplifting freshness. It’s like an Aperol Mojito, and it’s very easy to drink,” said Campbell. Thomson added: “It’s very subtle, and has these really nice flavours of citrus, lime and orange, under a wonderful back palate of nuttiness.”

(L­R): Nicola Thomson, Nicola Carruthers and Julie Campbell

The next drink to secure a place in the top three was Gallardo by Joshua Powell, which won top marks for presentation. The serve combines Dewar’s 12 Year Old, Dubonnet, Wenneker Red Rhubarb, orange juice, and Cockburn’s Fine Ruby Port.

“This drink certainly kept to the brief of a Blood and Sand – it’s simple to make and presented beautifully,” said Thomson. “It’s soft on the palate, with warmth. It’s brilliantly composed.”

Campbell said: “It’s really well-­balanced. There’s a hint of chocolate on the finish, which must come from the rhubarb. It’s very pleasant to drink.”

Summing up the overall competition, Campbell said: “This was a very interesting representation of Blood and Sand. Overall, I think the bartenders showed creative flare, and there was a lot of really great variations.”

The top three recipes now go through to the grand final in November, when all nine winning drinks from throughout the year will be recreated once more and judged against each other – along with one wild card finalist.

The bartender with the winning recipe will be crowned Wenneker Swizzle Master 2017 and scoop £1,000.

Click through to the next page to discover how to recreate the winning recipes from the latest round.

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