Glenfarclas reveals 2022 competition champion
This year’s Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength Cocktail Competition has named Aberdeen-based bartender Marcus Gordon as its winner.
The third edition of the competition tasked UK-based bartenders with creating cocktails using the brand’s cask strength Glenfarclas 105 whisky. The competition is launched annually on 15 April, the 105th day of the calendar year.
Gordon, of cocktail bar Orchid in Aberdeen, Scotland, was crowned the winner during the final on 13 June, held at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Glasgow.
He competed against four other bartenders, who were selected after succeeding in national drop-in heats that took place in Glasgow and London during May.
The other finalists included: Alex Basile from Black Rock bar in London; Leonardo Giacomello, of Scarfes Bar in Rosewood London; Gavin Lidbury, The Finnieston in Glasgow; and Lisa McLeod, The Esslemont Bar & Restaurant and Under The Hammer, for The McGinty Group in Aberdeen, Scotland.
This year’s competition asked bartenders to create a serve inspired by a story.
The five finalists were then challenged with creating a second serve, this time inspired by the year 1968 – when Glenfarclas 105 was created. During the final, bartenders were given a time limit of 10 minutes to present their two cocktails.
The competitors were judged on their knowledge of the brand, ingredients and presentation skills, as well as cocktail-making techniques, and the flavour, balance and appearance of the drinks.
The judging panel comprised: Kirsten MacDonald, Glenfarclas brand ambassador; Louise Gallagher, business development manager, Pol Roger Portfolio; Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor at The Spirits Business; Peter Donnelly, director of Pol Roger; and Dan Jones, assistant bar manager at Klosterhaus in Bristol, and the winner of last year’s Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength Cocktail Competition.
Gordon won the competition with his serves, A Pal’s Dram and High-Flyer’s Highball.
A Pal’s Dram combined Glenfarclas 105, yellow chartreuse, acid-adjusted apple juice, honey syrup and bramble jam, along with a dehydrated apple garnish. Gordon served the drink alongside a hand-illustrated book and used his background as a magician to vanish coins during the presentation.
The High-Flyer’s Highball was made with Glenfarclas 105, King’s Ginger Liqueur and homemade green tea soda, with a dehydrated lemon for the garnish.
The serve was inspired by the first Boeing 747 airplane that was built in 1968. Gordon was inspired by his travels, including to Asia, when creating the Highball, and combined ingredients from around the world.
Judges praised Gordon’s storytelling abilities, his whisky knowledge and mixology skills.
After the competition, Gordon said: “I was very surprised that I won considering what I was up against. Especially some of the London guys who had ideas that were very in-depth, but I’m delighted.”
For winning the competition, Gordon will be invited to the Glenfarclas Distillery for a three-day experience. He also received a unique decanter, the only one of its kind, containing Glenfarclas 105.