No.3 Unlock Taste Cocktail Tour

Words by:
Photography by: video by Alicja Rymarowicz & pics by yours truly

As you'd expect of London's oldest wine merchants, No.3 is unashamedly classic London Dry Gin with just six botanicals, each contributing a range of flavours to the gin (see bottom of page). Berry Bros. & Rudd challenged bartenders across the UK to create cocktails that accentuate and balance these botanicals and those bartenders with the best recipes were invited to compete in this competition.

Having been a judge at No.3 Gin's inaugural Unlock Taste Competition last year it was great to be back on the judging panel at No.3 St. James's to see how this competition has developed. As per last year, the first round challenged bartenders to present their signature recipes (see below) using a minimum of 35ml No.3 Gin, in no more than three minutes, with the best three going through to a head-to-head final where they were challenged to create a new drink on the spot from a selection of ingredients.

Ten percent of the points available on the judging sheet were attributed to "Name of cocktail and explanation" and this led to the competitors, more than any other competition I have judged, telling the story of their cocktail:

Fyn Seegar named his drink Victoria Park Avenue after the road he grew up on and he told how his memories of this influenced his drink.

Micheala Ball's Bread & Butter was literally made with bread and butter, in the form of kvass and almond butter, and naturally it was served with a toast and butter garnish.

Emily Chipperfield's Dutch Method was made and garnished with chocolate and she told the story of the van Houten family and how they revolutionised the processing of cacao to make chocolate using a process which is now known as the Dutch Method.

Stefanie Anderson told us that her The Loop cocktail was inspired by the prize for this competition, a trip to Chicago, where the elevated rails that distinguish the city and form the hub of the Chicago "L" system is known as The Loop. Her cocktail was cleverly garnished with drops of saffron oil which added to its aroma and floated to form a circle representing the loop.

For his Oliver Twist Steven Bain not only recounted the characters in Charles Dickens' book but also named his ingredients after them telling us how each ingredient suited their personality.

Judging a competition that produced such innovative cocktails (15 points out of 100 were for "innovative & unlocked") with such committed and professional bartenders recounting interesting stories was a most pleasurable way to spend a day. Also helped by ongoing banter from the fabulous Ronnie Cox, who should be on Test Match Special and who filled the time between each competitor with an endless supply of anecdotes, poems and stories about the long history of Berry Bros. & Rudd and the historic building the competition was being held in - No.3 St James's Street, the address No.3 Gin is named after.

Stefanie Anderson (Bon Vivant, Edinburgh), Manachain Monaghan (Below Stairs, Leeds) and Johnnie Muñoz Iniesta (Hawksmoor Spitalfields, London) emerged as the three finalists from the first round with Johnnie deservedly winning the first prize, especially considering that he made it into the final three to only narrowly missing winning last year.

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Winner, Johnnie Muñoz Iniesta, sat on the famous chair scales at No.3 St. James's

My fellow judges were: Geordie Willis (Creative Director and eighth generation family member of Berry Bros. & Rudd, Dr David Clutton (instrumental in the development of No.3 Gin and the only person in the world with a PhD in Gin), Alessandro Palazzi (the legend behind the Martinis at Dukes Bar) and Jane Ryan (drinks journalist formally of this manor).

The competitors, in the order they appeared with their recipe:

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Stevan Livanis

from Mojo, Manchester.

Hedge of No.3

Glass: Collins
Garnish: Spray with blackberry scent
Method: Pour gin into ice filled glass and top with carbonated infused water.
12 parts No.3 London Dry Gin
1 part Purified water infused with nettle cordial and gooseberry

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Francesco Lombardi

from Bassoon Bar at The Corinthia, London.

El Ritual

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: Hibiscus powder rim
Method: Shake first 4 ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled absinthe washed glass.
45ml No.3 London Dry Gin
30ml Homemade jasmine syrup
15ml Fresh lime juice
4 drops Homemade No.3 Gin hibiscus syrup
1 dash Absinthe

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Fynn Seegar

from Angelica, Leeds.

Victoria Park Avenue

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Orange zest twist
Method: Stir first 5 ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass sprayed with absinthe.
40ml No.3 Gin infused with Dandelion & burdock root and mixed berry tea
5ml St-Germain liqueur
10ml Fresh lemon juice
½ spoon Lemon infused sugar
3 dash Blossom bitters
1 spray Absinthe

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Aiden Page

from Callooh Callay, London.

Through the Wilderness

Glass: Collins
Garnish: Dock leaf
Method: Throw ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
20ml Fennel seed, fennel pollen, nettle and lemon cordial
35ml Sparkling water

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Michaela Ball

from The Finnieston, Glasgow

Bread & Butter

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: Toast & butter
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
60ml No.3 London Dry Gin
10ml Chardonnay & almond butter reduction
25ml Fortified kvass
5ml Poppy seed liqueur
2 dash Pimento dram

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Stephen Mutty

from Dandelyan, Mondrian Hotel, London.

Key To A Highball

Glass: Highball
Garnish: Fresh bay leaf and toasted corn ribbon
Method: Build in glass with ice.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
100ml Miso & Sweetcorn punch (with amontillado sherry, crème de banane, coconut water, sweetcorn, miso, milk)
50ml Sparkling water

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Emily Chipperfield

from Nuala, London.

The Dutch Method

Glass: Collins
Garnish: Smoked chocolate foam, juniper leaves & lemon zest
Method: Build in glass with crushed ice.
60ml No.3 London Dry Gin
120ml White chocolate pre-mix (milk infused with cacao, cardamom and orange)

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Milo Smith

from 99 Bar & Kitchen, Aberdeen.

310 Cocktail

Glass: Japanese cup
Garnish: dust with dehydrated raspberry sherbet
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain back into shaker. Dry shake and fine strain into chilled glass.
50ml Thai infused No.3 Gin
15ml King's Ginger liqueur
1 spoon Almond yoghurt
1 spoon Coconut & cashew yoghurt
25ml Aqua Faba
10ml Lime juice
1 dash Ms Betters Miraculous Foamer
10ml Vanilla syrup
5ml Agave syrup

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Manachain Monaghan

from Below Stairs, Leeds.

Cascade No.3

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Served with a copita of palate cleanser and aroma bubble (grapefruit, juniper, orange, coriander, angelica root and cardamom)
Method: Shake all ingredients and fine strain into chilled glass.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
35ml Mystery tincture (angelica root, passionfruit, salt, Cynar, lime, malic acid)
2 slice Cucumber
1 pinch Cayenne pepper

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Stefanie Anderson

from Bon Vivant, Edinburgh.

The Loop

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: Four drops saffron oil to create loop
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
35ml No.3 London Dry Gin
35ml Clarified orange juice
2 spoon Pink peppercorn tincture
1.5 Citric acid solution (10:1)
5ml Sugar syrup (1:1.5)

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Elysa McGuire

from Death & Taxes, Leeds.

The Echoing Green

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Dust glass with fennel pollen
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
10ml English Eiswein
10ml Lemon verbena and white peony cordial
2 drop Champagne acid
1 spray Lemon and woodland hydrosol

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Steven Bain

from Jonny Foxes & the Den, Inverness.

Oliver Twist

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Note, key and orange zest twist. Atomised spritz of orange infused King's Ginger
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
40ml No.3 London Dry Gin
25ml Lavender water
25ml Grapefruit cordial (infused with cardamom and coriander seeds)

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Luca Cicalese

from The American Bar, The Savoy, London

A London Memory

Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Grapefruit zest twist
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
15ml Suze
15ml Aperol reduction
3 drop Cardamom bitters

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Johnnie Muñoz Iniesta

from Hawksmoor, Spitalfields, London.

Shine & Brine

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: Olive & mint
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
35ml No.3 London Dry Gin
20ml Victory bitter
20ml Citrus juice
20ml Olive brine syrup

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Connie Cain

from Milk Bar, Reading.

Glass: Collins
Garnish: Basil sprig
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50ml No.3 London Dry Gin
26ml Pink onion infused Cocchi Americano
15ml Lavender infused honey syrup
10ml Green Chartreuse

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Dan Bovey

from Hyde & Co, Bristol.

My Generation

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: Zest twist
Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
40ml No.3 London Dry Gin
15ml Pilton ice cider
10ml Fino sherry
10ml Honey syrup (3:1)
10ml Antica Formula
3 dash Vintner's Blend acid (citric, malic and tartaric)

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