When the final of a competition takes place at the Savoy you know it’s going to be something special, last week the Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind Final was that special event.
Each year the Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind competition scours the UK to find the most knowledgeable and skilful bartender when it comes to Malt Whisky. Those wanting to get involved had to fill out an online questionnaire to be considered in the 3rd year of this great competition, and with twice as many entries as last year, getting into the final 8 was an achievement in itself.
The bartenders making it through to the final were:
- Will Cox – Monteith’s Edinburgh
- Alec Dyson – Booly Mardy’s, Glasgow
- Gareth Evans – Pollen Street Social, London
- Roberto Fiorillo – Mokoko, St Albans
- Lee Orelowitz – London Cocktail Club, London
- Lee Potter-Cavanagh – Mark’s Bar at HIX, London
- Dominic Wright – Castle Terrace, Edinburgh
- Henry Yates – World Service, Nottingham
Before them lay a day of three challenges. Firstly, was the classic round with each bartender having to make a Blood and Sand for the judging panel which consisted of Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Jamie Milne, Mark Thomson of Dramatic Whisky and Ryan Chetiyawardana representing his latest adventure Mr Lyan.
For the second round each competitor had to produce their own new signature Glenfiddich serve using any of the range (although no-one was brave enough to go past the 18YO). This round was judged by the above panel as well as being pier judged by the other competitors to add to the pressure. It did, however, mean there were plenty of great cocktails being passed around to try, which always makes BarLifeUK happy.
Once that bout of stress was done the sadists at Glenfiddich had one more trick up their sleeves, a tough looking written test for all the competitors. Doesn’t sound too tough I hear you say? Well a) you didn’t see the questions and b) there was no whisky until they were finished!
As if an afternoon at the Savoy wasn’t glamorous enough there were a few drinks at 45 Park Lane then dinner at China Tang in The Dorchester to enjoy. Although the luxury came at a price, they would have to wait until the dinner to find out who had emerged victorious.
With a few drinks inside them the nerves of the final 8 began to dissipate as the evening progressed, that was until the winning announcement started. Up for grabs was £1,000, a VIP to Glenfiddich Distillery, a trophy and most importantly the bragging rights of UK’s Malt Mastermind.
Taking out the title and completing a pretty impressive first year in the UK was Lee Potter Cavanagh from the HIX Group. His signature serve, the Dufftown Avenue, was a hit with all of the judges.
Jamie Milne had this to say on the competition:
“This year’s competition has been truly impressive. The talent and expertise of the finalists made it extremely tough to choose the winner. The competitors demonstrated some fantastic creativity with some superb drinks being served up and real knowledge and innovation showcased.”
- 35ml Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
- 25ml Somerset 3 Year Old cider brandy
- 25ml Burrow Hill apple juice
- 5ml Sea Buckthorne juice
- 1 Dash Bob’s liquorice bitters
- 1 Star anise flamed in Absinthe for garnish
- 3 Peppercorns (for smoking glass)
Flame star anise soaked in absinthe on a bar spoon. Flame peppercorns and upend glass over to catch the smoke. Add all ingredients except for anise to a shaker. Shake hard over cubed ice and strain into a coupé. Float star anise on top of cocktail.