Franco was the winner of The Chivas Masters, Oxford heatHe’s currently mixing drinks at The Library in Bournemouth, has a soft spot for the romanticism of classic cocktails and would have liked to serve one of his winning drinks to Frank Sinatra…

How did you become a bartender?

I spent a season working in Spain in my parents’ bar as a cook about seven years ago but wanted to turn my hand to something more customer-facing. I made my first Gin & It and got hooked on cocktails.

What is your definition of a classic cocktail?

It absolutely has to be the Old-Fashioned, basically by defintion. Spirit, sugar and bitters, there’s your cocktail.

What is your classic cocktail of choice?

My choice would be the Mint Julep, the drink I chose for my Age of Revivalism cocktail, purely because of it being recognised from the early 1800s, an era close to my heart as a bartender, but with roots centuries before.

What appealed to you about The Chivas
Masters competition?

The challenge of covering four eras to test my skill and knowledge as a bartender and also how big the prize is, along with the opportunity to compete in New York where I have a lot of bartender buddies.

Which of the four periods (The Classic Age, The Post-War Boom, The Disco Years and The Age of Revivalism) did you enjoy most?

That would be The Classic Age. I work in a vintage cocktail bar and love the drinks we make from 1920 and before, they have a beautiful air of romanticism about them.

Which of your four cocktails are you proudest of?

Probably ‘Nailed On The Dancefloor’ for The Disco Years because it’s a more elegant take on a drink from the ‘dark ages’ of cocktail history. It does however have an element of tackiness to it though, it’s the Disco Years after all!

Franco Burnell, winner: The Chivas Masters, Oxford heat

Franco Burnell, winner: The Chivas Masters, Oxford heat

Which famous person, living or dead, real or
fictional, from the four periods would you like to make one of your four cocktails?

That would be Frank Sinatra, and again with ‘Nailed On The Dancefloor’ and see what he would think on my take on one of his favourite drinks.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy Chivas?

Neat in a Spey taster to get the full nose and flavour of it.

What’s your recipe for a simple Chivas cocktail for people to make at home

‘King Street Cobbler’. Muddle mixed berries in a shaker, add 15ml of simple syrup, 20ml Amontillado Sherry and 40ml of Chivas Regal 12yr. Shake on ice and strain over crushed ice (preferably in a julep tin). Garnish with berries and a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw.

What are you most looking forward to about the final?

Meeting other bartenders from around the country and seeing their takes on the themes handed to us.

The Chivas Masters is…

An amazing opportunity for every bartender involved and a chance to show off with the amazing Chivas 12 year old.

Nailed On The Dancefloor, the winning cocktail Franco would have liked to serve to Frank Sinatra

‘Nailed On The Dancefloor’, the winning cocktail Franco would have liked to serve to Frank Sinatra

The People’s Choice

Who would you like to see win The Chivas Masters UK Final 2014? Click the Facebook ‘Like’ button below to cast your vote for Franco. To see all the finalists click here.

Franco joins the other seven finalists in the The Chivas Masters UK Final in London on 3rd June.

Follow all the action from The Chivas Masters here and via Twitter and Facebook. #ChivasMasters

The Chivas Masters Cocktail Competition


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