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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. 

Jameson Irish Whiskey Dublin

Dublin: home of traditional crafts, new design, cool bars, classic cocktails and, of course, Jameson Irish Whiskey

Jameson Irish Whisky Limited Edition Bottle Design Notes 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.

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How to… enjoy port

If sherry conjures up images of little old ladies then surely port brings visions of slightly aged, ahem, portly men to mind. On the whole, it’s regarded as an end of the meal drink and a big meal at that, either enjoyed on its own or, particularly at this time of year, paired with a fine Stilton.

But there’s a revolution underway, a movement which is aiming to bring port from the back of the drinks cabinet to the centre of the dining table. And it’s not solely aimed at the traditional port drinker.

Churchill’s Port House is the first pop-up port bar in the capital if not the whole of the UK. Spread over three storeys, it takes in a teeny gallery space on the top floor, a low-key chef’s table in the middle and a small restaurant at ground level. The mood is decidedly boho in Soho and none the worse for it.

Seven varieties of ports are offered, ranging from woody whites to rich, full-bodied vintage tawnies – each of which can be paired with the small but exquisite selection of tapas dishes on offer. True they all come from one stable – Churchill’s, hence the name above the door but as they’re all absolutely delicious, that doesn’t matter a jot.

Max Graham is the manager and creative inspiration of the bar. He also happens to be the son of winemaker and founder of Churchill’s, the first British Port wine company to have been established in over 50 years, John Graham. This is Max’s way of dusting off the stuffy image of port and making it fresh, modern and relevant to a new audience but at the same time managing not to scare away the traditionalists. And it works.

If you’re in or around Soho in the next few weeks, check it out – it’ll convince you that port is for every day not just for Christmas.

Churchill’s Port House, 26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE. Open for lunch and dinner Thursday to Saturday until 2nd February 2014.

The Cocktail Lovers say…

We recommend trying one of the Port Flights – a wonderful journey of tastes and great value at £15 for three full-sized glasses. And if you want to find out more about port, sign up for one of the regular tastings led by John Graham. for details.

This week we’re loving…

Hands up who likes a bargain? Yup, us too. That’s why our favourite discovery this week is, the free online resource that lets you search over 1,900 branded wines, beers and spirits to find the best deals. Add it to your favourites now.

As featured on The Independent Dish of the Day blog 19/12/2013


Christmas gifts for cocktail lovers

Stuck for present ideas for the cocktail lover in your life? Fret not, we’ve traipsed around the stores so you don’t have to. Get your credit card ready and let’s help you kick that shopping list into shape, starting with stocking filler ideas right through to blow-the-budget gifts.

Chase Union Jack Mini Pack, £15,

The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson, £16.99

Three-piece Tipsy Teacup, £34,


Sipsmith V.J.O.P, £37.95,

Personalised Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select, £44.95,
Engrave your special message on the front and along the side of the bottle at The Whisky Exchange

Gin Lovers Box, £45,
Contains 1 or 2 Vera Lyn mugs, 50cl Butler’s Gin, 275ml The Dalston Cola Company Raw Fiyah Ginger Beer; 225g England Reserves Preserves Bermondsey Bramble Jam, 10 red-and-white straws, muddling spoon; 2 Gin Jam Ginger Recipe Coasters.

Nikka Gift Pack, £60,
Contains Nikka Japanese whisky from the barrel and 2 glasses

The Cocktail Lover Gift Box, £65,
Contains 2 Martini glasses, rose gold cocktail strainer, rose gold Ginza jigger, Boston shaker, two swizzle sticks and a mini bottle of Sipsmith vodka.

Vintage limited-edition Ron Zacapa Reserva Limitada rum, £85, 
Hand selected by Master Distiller Lorena Vasquez

Tipplesworth Mince Pie Martini Case, £185,
Contains Boston shaker, hawthorn strainer, jigger, 2 Martini glasses, 70cl Skipper Rum, Tipplesworth Mince Pie Syrup, 75cl King’s Orchard Cox Apple Juice; Mince Pie Martini Recipe Card.


Bushmills Whiskey Wood Headphones, $395,
Custom-made premium leather headband with body from the barrels used to age Bushmills.

Hendrick’s limited-edition Hip Flask designed by Hannah Martin, £795,
Packaged in a handmade leather travelling bag containing hip flask, bottle of Hendrick’s Gin and cashmere scarf.


Round Flask with silver topper, £825,

Thirst Aid Drinks Kit, £2,750,
Veneered box containing sterling silver gilt-lined flask and cups.