Max Warner is the Chivas Global Brand Ambassador. He’s also the driving force behind The Chivas Masters Global Cocktail
Competition. We spoke to him about his role, the new competition and the iconic brand that is Chivas, not to mention food pairing at The Cannes Film Festival, ‘Living with Chivalry’ and drinking
aperitifs on submarines.
Centuries old crafts, contemporary design, cool bars and classic cocktails, welcome to the world of Dublin and Jameson Irish Whiskey. The world’s most famous Irish whiskey and Ireland’s
capital city go hand-in-hand. And when they get together they shake things up very nicely indeed, as we found when we hopped over for a recent visit.
If anyone knows about creating cocktails for swanky dos it’s Joe McCanta. As Global Ambassador at Grey Goose its his drinks that Elton John serves to his guests at his glitzy White Tie and Tiara Balls and who’s behind the delicious cocktails Harvey Weinstein and co. will be sipping at his awards season bash later this evening. But you don’t have to be a star to get in on the act, Joe’s Award Season Cocktail Collection inspired by the biggest themes of the best films from last year is available exclusively at the sumptuous Scarfe’s Bar at Rosewood London. Have your acceptance speech ready when you order.
The genre: Pioneering Spirit The cocktail: Martini de la Mer The storyboard: “Celebrating a pioneering spirit that overcomes adversity, our signature cocktail receives a maritime makeover. The Grey Goose Martini de la Mer invokes aromas of the open sea and is beautifully garnished with micro-shiso. amaranth and capers.” And action! 60ml Grey Goose vodka 2 spritzes of ‘sea spray essence’ (Noilly Prat dry vermouth infused with oyster shells and a touch of flour de sel)
Stir and strain into a well-chilled coupette glass. Garnish with micro-shiso, red amaranth and a large caper berry.
The genre: Unconditional Love The cocktail: L’Amour Moderne The storyboard: “A taste of love in a modern age, passionate but bittersweet, with fresh, fruity notes.” And action! 35ml Grey Goose Le Citron 25ml fresh pomegranate juice 15ml fresh pink grapefruit juice 15ml bitter Italian aperitif 15ml passion fruit syrup 3ml fresh lime juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and double strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with an orange zest.
The genre: Futurism The cocktail: The Cosmonaut The storyboard: “A futuristic cocktail, the Cosmonaut is a refined and elegant blend of Grey Goose La Poire, ginger liqueur, fresh lime and cardamom bitters built over ‘planetary’ ice spheres. Inspired by futurism, the space candy rolled grape adds some playful glamour.” And action! 45ml Grey Goose La Poire 25ml fresh lime juice 17.5ml ginger liqueur 1 dash cardamom bitters
Build ingredients over a large ice sphere in a spherical rocks glass. Garnish with a grape rolled in space candy.
The genre: Return to retro The cocktail: Lower East Side The storyboard: “A sophisticated twist on the most popular drink of the 1960s, the Harvey Wallbanger, this downtown classic is a unique blend of Grey Goose L’Orange, seasonal blood orange juice and cognac liqueur, with a slight drizzle of aged balsamic to give an intriguing gritty bite.” And action! 35ml Grey Goose L’Orange 70ml freshly squeezed blood orange juice 1 bar spoon orange flavour cognac liqueur 1 drizzle of aged balsamic
Build the Grey Goose L’Orange and blood orange juice, then float the liqueur on top. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a drizzle of aged balsamic.
The 2014 Awards Season Cocktail Collection is available exclusively at Scarfe’s Bar at Rosewood London until 2 March. 252 High Holbron, WC1V 7EN. rosewood hotels.com
Females at the bar? Nothing new in that but a female-only speed-based bartending competition, now that’s definitely a first for the UK. We talk to Ivy Mix and Lynnette Morrero about their plans to bring Speed Rack across the pond
IVY: The idea for Speed Rack came after I’d been asked to take part in a series of videos called ‘Shaker Faces’ which were doing the rounds at the time. I was one of the only females who was involved which got me thinking: wouldn’t it be fun if we did a spoof for the girls. My original idea didn’t even feature their faces, it would just zone in on their boobs as they showcased their bartending skills! Un-PC I know but initially it was a fun, crazy thing but the more I talked to people, the more serious it became.
IVY:I mentioned the idea to Lynnette who had started LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) in New York. All I had at this stage was the name Speed Rack (which I’d registered on the advice of a friend); women and boobs but she loved the idea. We worked on a format, decided to incorporate a breast cancer charity, then got on the phone to our friends in the drinks industry to raise the money to do it. We launched in 2010.
LYNNETTE: St. Germain was one of our first sponsors and they have continued to be supportive also becoming one of our first sponsors for the UK tour. We’ve been very lucky to get support from many large companies and it’s great because we get to work with so many different brands. It’s great to see Pernod Ricard, William Grant, Remy Cointreau and Bacardi all in one room supporting such a cause.
IVY: Each qualifying round starts with 16-20 women in each city and during the competition, they’re whittled down to one. We have eight rounds with two women competing against each other, making four drinks randomly selected by the judges in the fastest time possible. It’s pretty nervewracking because they’re being watched by the judges and cheered on by the audience – that kind of pressure can do funny things to you! Speed is key but that’s not the only thing contestants have to think about; they also get marked for accuracy. It’s a really fun event but it’s also very serious.
LYNNETTE: We piloted Speed Rack in New York, on home turf. The format has remained consistent but we have got more efficient and fine-tuned systems. We definitely have more opportunities during the events to talk about the cause, and that’s great. It’s more of a performance now. We did add a 20 second penalty to the competition and also decided that sticking to classic cocktails is best.
IVY: That first competition made us realise how Speed Rack brought the ladies together I was never a sorority sister but Speed Rack is a sisterhood and I realised that at the first go.
LYNNETTE: At first people thought Speed Rack was anti-men but it’s not it’s about elevating and celebrating great female bartending talent in a male-dominated industry. Speed Rack gives women the platform to step on to show the world how amazing they are and how good they are at their jobs.
LYNNETTE: The best advice we received regarding the competition came from Audrey Saunders who got it from Dale DeGroff and that was to take the wheel of the car and drive. Speed Rack is a full-time job and to have the support of industry greats including Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Dale DeGroff and Steve Olson is just incredible.
IVY:Why Speed Rack UK? It’s time for Speed Rack to spread its little wings and fly! The UK seemed like such a fantastic fit for many reasons. We have lots of friends over there, we love that London is a cocktail mecca and that the cocktail craze has spread across the UK. Also, we think it’s a prime time for Speed Rack to be there because we don’t know that many ladies in the UK. We know they’re there; we know that they are good at their jobs; we know they are badass, and yet, we don’t know them. That is what Speed Rack did in the US, created a platform for ladies to stand on, if they should so wish, and use it to say: ‘Hey! We’re here, and we work and work hard. Pay attention!’
LYNNETTE: I think in general there will be a different style and presentation in the UK but that’s true of US vs UK bartenders in general. We are excited as we’ll only have one big event so it will be grand like the finals in LA.
IVY: Once we’ve conquered the UK I think our first thought will be mission accomplished then: where can we go now? There are ladies everywhere…. it’s just a matter of getting there…
Speed Rack UK takes place at Village Underground on 24 April with all proceeds going to The Haven breast cancer support centres. For tickets and details, click here.
One man, one woman, living the London cocktail lifestyle
Signing you up!
Sharing the cocktail love with regular updates, offers, competitions and our lovely magazine
(If you've already subscribed confirm your details below and you'll never see this box again)