Shaken and Stirred

Murray Drysdale and Kevin Griffin are the cocktail kings of Scotland, following their wins in the Appleton Estate Bartender Challenge. As finalists in the regional heats they now go through to the London final where they will have the opportunity to decorate pop up bars showcasing their creativity and style as well as designing their own bespoke cocktail menus. The ultimate prize is an all expenses paid trip to Jamaica to represent the UK in the World Final in October 2012.

Although qualified in Architectural Design, Murray, from Ricks Bar and Restaurant in Edinburgh, developed a love of bartending during his student years whilst working in bars during the Edinburgh Festival.

Judge Jamie Macdonald of The Raconteur was particularly pleased to see one of his protegees, Kevin Griffin, making it through. “I had to be very harsh on him,” Jamie admitted, “as I couldn’t show any favouritism. He had to impress me more than anyone. At the Raconteur, I don’t normally allow our bartenders to do anything I haven’t seen so I was quite nervous and quite excited to see what he had to show me.”

The 10 bartenders had to demonstrate not only their knowledge of cocktails, but their flair and personality. “They have to show how they can capture your heart,” Jamie says. As a World Class finalist himself, he is well aware of the value of winning competitions like this. “You can’t pay for the P.R. It changes your career path.

“I’d love a Scottish winner but then I’ve travelled a lot myself and have friends all over the world. It’s a very enjoyable experience and there’s a real fraternity amongst the bartenders so the main thing is that they have fun.

“In London, the lads will join other regional finalists for 2 days of competition, including tastings and styling their own bar as well as designing their own cocktail menu. This will then be judged by members of the public and counts for 30% of the vote  so personality is a big thing. And in Jamaica, for the UK winner,  it’s even more important  as the Jamaicans are very personable and they expect you to engage with them.”

Below are the recipes for Murray’s and Kevin’s winning cocktails.

So congratulations to them and good luck in May!

Murray Drysdale
Rum ImPorter

40ml Appleton Estate 8 year old
15ml Flying Dog Porter Reduction (4 parts Porter to 1 part sugar – reduce)
12.5ml PX sherry
5ml Marachino liqueur
5 drops Liquorice bitters
5 drops Angostura bitters
Stir down over block ice
Serve straight up in a Coupe
Twist of Orange as Garnish

Kevin Griffin
Suppertime with Shakespeare

40ml Appleton Estate 8 year old
15ml Licor 43
15ml Mantineia sherry (smoked with pink grapefruit zest and Granny Smith Apple smoke – using smoking gun)
Stir down over block ice
Serve over balled ice in a tea cup
Serve with a large slice of good Ginger Cake on the side – to be enjoyed together

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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