The Caledonian Bartenders Cup

IN

The second Caledonian Bartenders Cup (CBC) competition was held in Glasgow on 15th April 2014 sponsored by the Liquid Arts Academy (LA Group) and The Botanist.
Eighteen young bartenders from all over Scotland plus competitors from Manchester and Newcastle rose to the challenge: “To bring a whole new dimension to the art of professional bartending, engaging localised foraging as part of the competition.”

Each competitor brought their own locally foraged ingredients and subject to significant time pressure, made a cocktail incorporating a 35ml measure of The Botanist that was judged by a panel of experts.  Six of the eighteen then progressed to a second round when they had to make a cocktail using a mystery box of ingredients that had been provided by the organisers.
There were two panels of judges, 4 out front and four closeted ‘blind’ who were unable to see the contestants and who were tasting the drinks with no idea of who made them or what they had been made with.

The judges out front were: Mark Williams (a professional forager from Galloway); Thomas Aske (a professional bartender from the Fluid Movement in London); Glen Hooper  (a freelance bar consultant) and Carl Reavey (of Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay where The Botanist is made).

The blind judging panel comprised Scott Ingram (of the Blythswood Hotel in Glasgow who was champion in 2010); Adrian Gomez (of the Tippling House in Aberdeen); Martin Duffy (of the Scottish Bartenders Network) and Jody Montieth (of The Liquorists in Manchester)

During the first round, not only did each bartender have to bring their own ingredients and equipment/glasses if required, they also had to explain to the judges what they were doing and why.
Marks were awarded for the foraged ingredients used, the flavour and balance of the cocktail, the aroma, appearance and its name.

The mystery boxes used in the second round were put together by the organisers and some of the judges in the days leading up to the competition and comprised a suite of ten foraged shrubs, syrups, cordials and infusions etc.

The event was a great success, held in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters.

The event was a great success, held in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd of supporters.  There was a real sense of drama and competition with lots of pre-performance nerves in evidence.

The LA Group were the ideal hosts with great premises, staff and an extremely professional approach.

The level of enthusiasm for the foraging concept, and the association with The Botanist, was very high.  A chef and foraging enthusiast, Craig Grozier, put together a selection of canapes using foraged ingredients including rock samphire, wild leek and pickled ramsons (wild garlic).

Altogether an inspirational event.  There were cash prizes to be won plus prizes of bottles of Bruichladdich single malt whiskies to those who uploaded the best digital presentation of their foraged serves to www.thebotanist.com

Results: 1st  – Rob Wilkie; 2nd  Alix Nardella; 3rd – Megan Murray.  Finalists were: Dean Evans; Tim Laferla; Cara Devine.  Huge respect to all the competitors; Jason Smith, George E Fellows, James Kemp, Mark Low, Chris McNulty, Simon Smith, Grant Flemming, Rosie Paterson, Miran Chauhan, Jordan Brook and Jamie Campbell.

Everyone at The Botanist would like to thank Scott Gemmell and his team at the LA Group for all their hard work.  Special thanks too must go to the judges who had an extremely difficult task in selecting the eventual winners from a top quality field.  The standard of entries was simply awesome.

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