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Cross Keys Gin asks bartenders to clay-age cocktails

Amber Beverage Group has launched the “world’s first” clay bottle-aged cocktail competition for its Cross Keys Gin brand and is offering to pay three months’ rent for the winner.

Cross Keys Gin is contained in a clay bottle

The competition has been launched to showcase Cross Keys Gin – a Baltic gin brand that features a black clay container said to “enhance the ageing process” of the liquid inside.

More than 25 UK-based bartenders will take part in the competition, hailing from venues such as Callooh Callay, Aqua Shard and Hedonist. The winner will also have the chance to tour the Latvia distillery where Cross Keys Gin is made.

The participants will receive an empty clay bottle and a full 700ml bottle of Cross Keys Gin. They will have five weeks to age their cocktail, which will be assessed by a panel of judges. The results will be announced during London Cocktail Week in October.

“With the trend for clay-ageing growing internationally we are seeing bartenders who have experimented with barrel-ageing cocktails in oak, looking to age their drinks in clay bottles,” said Maris Kalnins, global brand director at Amber Beverage Group.

“We know that the clay delivers interesting changes in taste and allows drinks to develop deeper colours, earthy tasting notes and a much richer quality to the liquid inside.

“The drinks remain clean and crisp as they aren’t taking as much from the clay as they would from ageing a cocktail in a barrel. It’s an exciting direction for the trade and for our Cross Keys Gin.”

Amber Beverage claims that clay bottles protect liquid from sunlight and extreme changes in temperature, allowing it to interact with the “porous properties” of the container.

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