The Chivas Masters Global Cocktail Competition

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury Scotch Whisky, is celebrating the craftsmanship at the heart of bartending with the launch of its first-ever global cocktail competition, The Chivas Masters.

The Chivas Masters sees the iconic brand highlight its rich heritage by challenging the world’s best bartenders to create classic cocktails from four of the great cocktail eras.chivas-12

The Classic Age (1880-1920) which saw the birth of Chivas Regal.
The Post War Boom (1945-1965) during which time Chivas 12 was introduced.
The Disco Years (1975-1990) which saw the brand become a truly global icon.
The Disco Years (1975-1990) which saw the brand become a truly global icon.

The exclusive competition culminates in a two-day grand final, to be held in New York in July which will be judged by a distinguished panel of leading bartenders, past and present, from New York’s bar scene.

Let us now chat about the Edinburgh heat.

The Edinburgh Heat was held at The Devil’s Advocate Bar in Advocate Close in Edinburgh’s Old Town, on Wednesday 7th May.

Jim got a wee invite to attend the Edinburgh event where there were eight selected bartenders each to create four new cocktails.

The competition started at noon and did not finish until 6 pm.

The judges are:-

Phil Huckle – Chivas Brand Ambassador
Gary AKA Mr G. – from The Cocktail Lovers
Jody Monteith – The Liquorists

Keeping everyone in check and watching the clock was Sean Gillespie – Business Development Executive with Pernod Ricard UK.

Taking part in this heat were two bartenders from Aberdeen and six from Edinburgh, as noon approached Phil laid out the agenda and the order of play.

The players are :-bloody-battle

Ryan Rhodes from Orchid, Aberdeen
Terence Hann from Bar Kohl
Will Cox from The Bon Vivant
Emma Andrew from 99 Hanover street
Jon Hughes from Bramble
Martin Duffy from 56 North
Alex Lawrence from Orchid, Aberdeen
David Littlejohn from 99 Hanover Street/Bar in a Box

All the bartenders had boxes filled with ingredients and tools of their trade, and some of the ingredients looked as odd as some of the tools they were intending to use.

Each competitor is asked to create four drinks in total, one from each and influenced by the above categories, and are only allowed 5 minutes per cocktail.

The Judging area’s are:-

Drink Quality, Taste/Appearance/Balance
Mastery of the techniques of cocktail making from each era
Knowledge of cocktail heritage
Ability to engage the judges with the story that inspired the cocktail

Shortly after noon the battle commenced.  The afternoon passed quickly which included a couple of breaks where plenty of canapé’s were served. Jim sat at the bar next to Phil and was amazed by the skill of all the bartenders and the ingenuity of these Alchemist’s.chivas-masters

The endless list of ingredients added to the 12 Year Old Chivas, these included:- pineapple, castor sugar, lemon, banana, egg white, coffee, rum, mint, apple, cranberry’s, chocolate, orange,walnut, many styles of bitters, raspberry’s, ginger root, cherry, citric acid, lime, rhubarb, heather honey, paprika, diet coke, green tea, vermouth, grape juice and the list goes on and on.

One bartender actually did a blended cocktail, taking elements of the Rob Roy and a Whisky Sour and mixing them together.

First and second placed bartenders will be treated to a trip to Speyside and a stay at the absolutely fabulous Linn House, Keith.

Jim tasted approx. 75% of the cocktails made and also a dram of the very fine 12 Year Old Chivas. Each cocktail was a revelation the seven guys and the one lass certainly know how to make a cocktail or three. Some were stirred, others shaken.

Second place went to Jon from Bramble Cocktail bar in Edinburgh.

First place went to Will Cox from the Bon Vivant. (pictured receiving his award from Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador Phil Huckle).

His cocktails included a Rat Pack inspired cocktail. The ingredients were Chivas Regal 12 Year Old, Byrrh, tomato juice and lemon juice, it is called “ Bloody Battle” Will also received a bottle of Chivas Regal 18 Year Old for his winning cocktails.

So a little tired and a palate full of flavours Jim headed to the train station after witnessing a splendid afternoon of expertly made cocktails.

A great day out wonderful venue for the competition and the day went without a hiccup, very well organised.

So a big thanks goes out to Paloma from Richmond Towers and Phil Huckle, Chivas Brand Ambassador.

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