Category Archives: Bartenders & Mixologists

The men and women creating and making the cocktails we love


Auchentoshan Switch: Call for entries


Let’s face it, there are two continents every serious bartender wants to work in: London and New York. Which is where Auchentoshan Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky comes in. Like the fairy godmother you never thought existed its annual competition waves its wand and makes the magic happen.

That’s right. If you’ve always dreamed of working behind one of the best bars in London or New York here’s your chance. Auchentoshan Switch is back for a third year and once again, one bartender from north America and one from Europe will get to make an all-expenses paid, opportunity of a lifetime ‘Switch’ working in a top London or New York bar for two, yes two whole weeks. The competition is open to all bartenders in the UK and Europe as well as the US and Canada. Last year Aidan Bowie (pictured above) from Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow worked behind the stick at Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York, while Michael Webster from Bar Isabel in Toronto headed to London to work with Marian Beke and the team at Night Jar.

“Auchentoshan Switch has grown from strength to strength over
the past three years and we are delighted with the huge number
of entries it receives each year, as well as the fabulously
inventive cocktails that are made,” says Rhona Fyfe, brand
manager for Auchentoshan. “This year we are hoping to create a bigger better competition than previously and we’re excited to
bring this once in a lifetime experience to our supportive
bartending community once again.”

Who’s up for the ‘Switch’?

Interested? Of course you are! To enter simply create an original  cocktail using Auchentoshan Three Wood as the base, take a
photo (make it look good, presentation always helps), upload it (you’ve got until 19th August to do this but don’t leave it to the
last minute, who needs the stress?), and cross your fingers.

Then its down to the judges to do the hard work. They’ll cast
their beady eyes over the entries to select the lucky bartenders
to go through to the regional heats in their respective countries. Successful candidates will be notified by 28th August and
regional competitions will take place from 8th September to
8th October 2014. Each region will have an overall winner who
will then come together at the Grand Final for the big shake-off
on 30th October.

Taking place in London, it will see bartenders from Europe and the US each vying for the chance to make the ‘Switch’. It goes without saying that everyone who’s made it through to this stage will be pretty damned fab but as is the way with competitions, there will
be one overall winner from each category – one from Europe and one from the US. The prize? The amazing opportunity to Switch continents for two whole weeks in June 2015. Get your game
face on now. Upload your entries here.

Good luck! __________________________________________________________________________

About Auchentoshan Three Wood

Award-winning Auchentoshan Three Wood is distilled not once, not
twice but three times to produce an immensely smooth spirit.

Three is also the magic number for the number of different types of
casks the spirit is left to mature in. First  it sits in North American Bourbon casks, then in Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks and finally in
Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks, a wood famed for drama and darkness.

This triple cask maturation produces a rich whisky with deep toffee
and sherry oak influences, a touch of hazelnut with hints of cinnamon and lemon and a butterscotch sweetness that adds to the overall

The Auchentoshan Distillery has plenty of experience in triple distilled whisky – it’s been producing it since the distillery was established in 1823. Located in the Lowland region of Scotland, on the outskirts of Glasgow, it’s the city’s only distillery. 


Unfolding and exploring the new menu at Artesian

It’s like that irksome second album thing: how do you follow up a big hit with something equally crowd pleasing? Or, and here’s an even bigger ask, have you got what it takes to make your next offering better than the huge success that went before?

Artesian have. Just when you thought the team behind the best bar in the world (official) might have exhausted itself with all the creative madness and downright clever jiggery-pokery that goes into each of its menus, up they come with another totally brilliant drinks list. Continue reading


Get your tickets to hear Tom Walker in conversation with The Cocktail Lovers

We may be rubbish at football but England is doing pretty nicely when it comes to winning global rum cocktail contests thank you very much.

Join us as we talk to Tom Walker, this year’s champ of the
prestigious BACARDÍ Legacy Cocktail Competition in the first
of The Cocktail Lovers Salons at Opium.

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Make a date for Speed Rack UK

If you missed Speed Rack UK last year, promise us you won’t make that rookie error again. Why would you want to miss out on the biggest, best and pardon us for being lewd, the boobiest party in town?

Check this: not only does your ticket guarantee you banging tunes, complimentary cocktails and a selection of punch all evening (yes, really and they’re good ones too), you’ll get to see some of the fastest, freshest, feistiest female bar tending talent in the UK as they show off their skills making cocktails against the clock.

Oh yes, and this happened…

Great drinks, nail-biting rounds, pumping soundtrack, a fantastic crowd – all-in-all it’s onehelluva event. And here’s the clincher: every penny of your ticket price goes to support The Haven, our favouritest breast cancer charity in the whole wide world.

Speed Rack UK takes place 7-10pm on Monday 23 June at Oval Space, Bethnal Green. Tickets are £15 in advance, £20 at the door. Seriously, that’s the cost of two cocktails – what are you waiting for?

Book your tickets here

With big thanks to sponsors St. Germain, Belvedere, Four Roses, Auchentoshan, Bacardi, Excellia Tequila, G’Vine, Luxardo, Martini and Rossi, Del Maguey, Courvoisier, Galliano, Koko Kanu, June Liqueur, Le Quintinye Vermouth Royal, Peter F. Heering Company, Cointreau – you guys rock!



Imagination at work and play: Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender – The Grand Final

14 get imaginative in the English countryside

“Don’t think outside the box, think curious”. That was Charlie
Harry  Francis’ advice to the 14 bartenders competing in this
year’s Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender
global finals. Which would have been easy to dismiss if Harris
wasn’t the affable, very inspiring, top-hat toting curious mind
behind experimental food company, Lick Me I’m Delicious.

Competitors and invited guests on Day One in Hampshire

Not that our finalists needed much help in the imagination department. Each of them had already proved they were more right-side brain creative thinkers than logical left-side brain types by securing their places in the finals. Like Charlie went on to say, curiosity unlocks creativity – which was a characteristic we witnessed in spades during the five-day competition.

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