This year during the inaugural Leeds Loves Cocktails Smokestack held its first Jekyll & Hyde Mixology Competition.
Devised by Scott Tyrer & his team at Bibi’s in 2010, the premise of the competition is to show the two sides of the competitive drinks industry. First of all everybody’s Jekyll side; a calm simple drink that everyone can re-create. This is followed by the Hyde side; one of danger, mystery and all-out weirdness.
So, Smokestack in association with Portobello Road Gin decided to revive the competition and bring it back to the North of England with one golden rule. Do what ever you want but just ‘Don’t Kill Anybody’.
Entrants from Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool & Sheffield were whittled down to a final 6 to compete for the title and a fully paid 2-night trip to London where they would partake in a Ginstutute session with the legendary Jake Burger at the Portobello Star. These were
Mathew Coates – Jakes Bar & Still Room (Leeds)
Michael Braun – Bibi’s (Leeds)
Charlene Holt – Apotheca (Manchester)
Joe Wild – Berry & Rye (Liverpool)
Lee Morris – Browns (Leeds)
The day started of with a bang with Si Ord (owner of Smokestack) dressed in traditional 19th Century attire beckoning competitors and spectators up to the aptly named Roost (Smokestacks top floor bar), which had been transformed into 19th Century gin palace with a bathtub full of gin punch. The guys of Smokestack & Sandinista set the standard of the day by showcasing their own creations, which were served throughout the night.
With the judging panel consisting of Jake Burger, Tom ‘glassware guru’ Mullin, Andy Baisille (Mangrove Rep for North East) and Dan Crowther the competition was ready to go. The first round was the Jekyll drinks. Michael Braun kicked us off with one of the more complex Jekyll serves and a fantastic presentation. As the drinks kept coming the atmosphere grew, with the crowd growing to over 50 people. Every drink was worthy of the prize of best Jekyll drink, which in itself won a signed bottle of Portobello Road Jubilee Edition, by Jake himself.
After a short food break, the drinks that everyone was waiting for were ready and the crowd and the judges were not disappointed. We had hidden serves, Russian roulette serves, a meal, and all finished off with a fake egg courtesy of Joe. All the judges were unanimous that the standard of the competition had been exceptional but there could be only one winner (or two?!).
The first winner of the day was Joe Wild with his Rosemary’s Baby winning the best Jekyll drink with a beautiful balance of Portobello Road gin with rosemary and ale syrup. This left us with the overall winner who had quite possible one of the best presentations of a cocktail the judges had ever seen, and it went to Michael Braun of Bibis Itallisimo in Leeds with his drink The First Meal. A exceptional 4 course meal combination with the pièce de résistance coming with a full English breakfast (the only way to Jakes heart) consisting of an egg shell fennel and Portobello gin jelly with a rhubarb nest.
However due to the standard of the competition a second place was awarded and with it a free session at the Ginstitute courtesy of Jake and that went to Charlene from Apotheca in Manchester with the aptly named Road To Ruin which contained 6 individual potions with one containing the infamous Ghost Chilli.
A fantastic day and huge thank you goes out to Smokestack and everyone who turned up to compete and spectate. You can sample Joe’s winning drink for the next 3 months at Smokestack and we cannot wait for next year! Same time, same place.
Here are the winning drinks of the day
Best Jekyll Drink – Joe Wild
35ml Portobello Road Gin
25ml Egg White
25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Ale Syrup
1 Teaspoon of Rosemary Jelly
Jekyll & Hyde Winner – Michael Braun
The First Meal
Starter: Lemon and Anise Brushed Line with Fennel and a Rhubarb Spray Main: Egg Shell Fennel & Portobello Gin Jelly with a Rhubarb Nest Desert: Rhubarb Portobello Label Crinkled Chocolate with a Lemon & Anise Sugar Dip Aperitif: Corps toddy