A couple of weeks ago we judged the final of the Officers’ Reserve Gimlet Challenge, here are the results and the chance to win yourself a bottle.
Everyone knows the story of lime, sailors and scurvy so we won’t bore the backend off you going into that. What a few less of you may know is that it was the owner of a Leith shipyard, called Lauchlin Rose, that patented the process for preserving fruit juice with sugar not booze.
From there he invented Rose’s Lime Cordial and it wasn’t long before the Gimlet was being quaffed by the officers on ships around the globe.
Despite its humble and, let’s face it, pretty unsexy beginnings the Gimlet is one of the world’s most enduring and, quite frankly, delicious classic cocktails. With all that in mind it made perfect sense that when Fords Gin launched their Officers’ Reserve limited edition it would be the Gimlet that was the heart of its cocktail competition.
After a series of heats there was, as there usually is, a final. The winner getting themselves an all-expenses paid trip to a European capital of their choice.
Our home for the day was Murder Inc. and our fellow judges were the lovely and knowledgeable Alistair Burgess owner of Happiness Forgets and Original Sin plus the Australian Stu Hudson from Forgotten Hospitality.
With mic in hand and a large pocket full of puns Dan Warner kicked off proceedings, and we got our faces involved in some delicious Gimlet twists.
One of our favourite drinks of the day came from Paulo at The Connaught, his oregano and camomile cordial was mixed with clarified grapefruit juice and Officers’ Reserve finished off with a grapefruit and basil essence. The officer who stayed at the Connaught, who provided the inspiration for the drink, would have been very happy with the outcome we’re sure.
Victory Mansion’s Stu Binks always produces tasty drinks and his Original Biggles serve was no exception. This time it was his inspiration that really got our attention. Did you know that the original title character for Biggles books was actually Major Gimlet Champion? We didn’t, Stu did. It turned out Biggles was so popular the Major got elbowed out (much like gin got pushed out in favour of vodka in the Gimlet back in the 80’s).
Sometimes in a final someone produces a fantastic drink and excellent presentation but still gets pipped at the post. This time it was Zoë van der Grinten from Fam who had that dubious honour. Her twist used another ingredient very high in Vitamin C and also used for scurvy as well as being a sign of victory, nasturtium. The nasturtium tea cordial worked exceptionally well with the Officers’ Reserve and really came alive with the garnish.
On this day it was Luca Dipatrizi from Scarfes Bar in his first every cocktail competition who just edged the win with fantastic twist and a presentation that seemed to have been done with years of comp experience under his belt.
Based on the 16thcentury spice trade, and full of facts such as dockworkers overtime being paid in cloves, his trade cocktail was a very clever Gimlet twist. Full recipe below.
Congratulations to all the competitors for creating such great twists and thanks to them and Fords Gin for reminding us just how good a drink the Gimlet is.
Now it’s your turn to get your hands on some swag, we have a couple of bottles of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award winning Officers’ Reserve for you. Simply fill out the form below before September 1st and we’ll do a draw for the winners.
Luca Dipatrizi, Scarfes Bar
- 40ml Fords Gin Officers’ Reserve
- 20ml trade cordial (zara lebu, cardamom, shisho leaf and ginger)
Shaken and double strained into a Nick and Nora glass garnished with a cardamom leaf.