Every cocktail competition has an entry requirement  – you know, that ‘thing’ designed to get bartenders minds a-whirring. Some ask competitors to test their knowledge on a particular spirit category for instance, others zone in on bringing a new and exciting twist to a classic. Gin Mare? This year it’s asking bartenders to get to work on an egg.

Why? Why not! There’s no ingredient quite like it. At its most basic, the seemingly humble egg is a self-contained meal, at the other end of the scale, it forms the foundation to some of the most intricate dishes around. Just ask Michelin-starred chef Paco Pérez – he’s dedicated his aptly named L’Eggs restaurant in Barcelona to them.

Dyed quail egg garnish for last year’s winner Manel Vehi’s Mediterranean-inspired cocktail

They’re pretty impressive on the drinks front, too, transforming a Sour from something fairly simple to a frothy cloud of deliciousness with a silky smooth texture and taste. Then there’s the Flip, a velvety rich and creamy concoction bursting with flavour and history. Or what about the Prairie Oyster? Not one for the faint-hearted perhaps but a drink that’s been putting the kibosh on hangovers since the 19th century.

Most egg-centric cocktails (not a pun, promise), are steeped in history, many including Nogs, Fizzes and Possets derive from ye olde English taverns. In its Mediterranean Inspirations though Gin Mare are looking for something that reflects the lifestyle, cuisine, climate and distinct flavours of the Med.

Which shouldn’t be too much of a problem given the eggs-pertise (okay, that one was intended) available on the foodpairing.com website. Use it to fire your imagination on the flavours that work with the Arbequina olive, thyme, rosemary and basil found in Gin Mare, together with eggs.

You can separate the egg, opting to use either the white or yolk in your drink, or perhaps you’ll choose to include the whole thing. You can play with size as well – going neat and petite with pretty quail’s eggs or giving it large with the outsized offering of an ostrich – you might even choose to go off-piste with fish eggs. That’s not to say you need to use an egg in your cocktail all. It can be used as a vessel, garnish, flavouring anything – the choice is yours.

Duck eggs used as vessels for Manel Vehí’s dessert-style cocktail

That takes care of the Gastrobartender side of the competition now in it’s sixth year, the other drink you have to come up with is your Mare Nostrum Cocktail. This is your showpiece with the spirit of the Mediterranean at its heart (yes, that means a minimum of 40ml of Gin Mare plus your liquid interpretation of what this part of the world means to you).

Are you up for the challenge? You’ll be well rewarded for your efforts if you make it through to the final. As well as spending a blissful few days in Ibiza, sunning it up in the Gin Mare villa with fellow finalists from around the world, there’s a cool €4,500 and a chance to travel the world with Gin Mare in it for the winner. What’s not to like? Get your thinking caps on now!

Entries close 31st May and heats will take place in London, Manchester and Edinburgh with the UK final in London on 7th July.

For Ts and Cs and entry information, see BarLifeUK.com. For flavour inspiration check out foodpairing.com

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