An absolute classic

A negroni featuring Suez and a sour lollipop garnish? A whiskey sour with mulled wine and rosemary syrups? An old fashioned stirred up with a smoked salt saline solution? And a martini made with truffle butter fat-washed vodka? What is all of this magical sorcery I hear you ask? Well, dear reader, these are just a few of the tipples that were tipped back at the very first Classic Cocktail Competition

You heard me. There’s a new drinks contest in town, and before you even contemplate a “not another one” reaction, you should know that this shake-off is very different to what is already out there, as it’s industry-wide and is set to inspire any outlet that serves any cocktails, no matter the style of operation.

In its essence, The Classic Cocktail Competition has been launched to reinvigorate the classic serves expected by consumers across the whole of the UK’s hospitality industry. Whether someone is sipping a martini before a lavish dinner in a five-star hotel or looking to capitalise on a two-for-one happy hour in a branded cocktail bar, the majority of drinkers will look to the classic section of a cocktail menu to choose from a list of tried and tested favourites. But will they always be satisfied?

Signature serves rightly have their place on refined cocktail menus and are often delivered by high calibre bartenders, but a decent classic cocktail offer gives operators the chance to upskill all levels of front-of-house team members, as well as helping cement a reputation for consistently brilliant drinks.

The inaugural year of The Classic Cocktail Competition (page 48) saw 15 bartenders from respected businesses across the country create six different classics each, all competing for the Bartender of the Year accolade – that’s 90 different cocktails, folks. Their creations, and the ones mixed up in years to come, can act as inspiration for the rest of the industry when it comes to reviving classic cocktail menus around the UK. Year one was an absolute classic. Maybe we’ll see you there next year?

Tristan O’Hana - Editor