A MEMBER of staff at the Capital’s Printing Press Bar & Kitchen has been crowned the winner of a new whisky cocktail competition.
Assistant manager Andrew Lennie has won the first ever Talisker Race to Skye competition – which saw bartenders from all over the UK create a cocktail that embodied whisky brand Talisker’s ‘Made by the Sea’ campaign.
The ten best drams from each region were selected to compete in the semi-finals before the final six were chosen to go head-to-head in the final.
Andrew said: “I’m incredibly excited to be named the first ever ‘Race to Skye’ champion. It has been an amazing couple of months and competing in the heart of Skye was unforgettable. It’s been a truly rewarding experience.”
In the grand final Andrew had to compete against five bartenders battling it out in four rounds: a highball challenge, a whisky knowledge quiz, a blind tasting of the Talisker range and a hip flask challenge, where competitors had to create a Talisker drink that could be enjoyed from the receptacle.
But it was the original creative challenge that attracted Andrew to take part in the competition, taking inspiration from his own family.
Andrew said: “I couldn’t turn down the opportunity of having the chance to work with some of the most well-respected whisky experts in the industry.
“I also thought the original brief tasking us to play on the brand’s campaign ‘Made by the Sea’ was perfect for me.
“My grandad, Tom, was a naval cadet during the Second World War and his stories have stayed with me growing up. I see him as a spirit ‘made by the sea’ and my love for him and his stories, combined with my interest in whisky inspired me to present a drink that was special to me but also that celebrated the unique characteristics of Talisker.”
He said whisky was now regarded as a versatile drink and had become central to the drinks menu at the George Street-based bar where he works. He said: “At the bar, I always suggest customers try whisky neat before they decide whether they’d like to add something else. I’m also a huge advocate of offering single malts as the base for classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned, Whisky Sours or Rob Roys.
“Nowadays there are also so many interesting flavour profiles in soda to accompany your dram.
“We have recently put a Glenkinchie 12 and rose lemonade on our cocktail menu and it’s been hugely successful. Sometimes the simplest serves prove the most popular.”