Words by: Jane Ryan
Set in the stunning, and aptly chosen Punch Room, at Edition Hotel in London, five finalists battled it out to win Drambuie’s 2014 Cocktail Competition. Taking away the ultimate prize of an incredible trip retracing Bonnie Prince Charlie’s footsteps through Rome, Paris and Skye was Tomasz Oleksy, from Lobby bar in One Aldwych Hotel.
After bartenders had submitted recipes for a punch-style serve using Drambuie, four finalists were selected to compete in front of a panel of judges including global brand ambassador Jamie Stephenson; Jane Ryan from Difford's Guide and Louise Corbin from BarChick.
The first challenge the bartenders faced was to present their drink in under six minutes. From there, they were given a mystery round with a host of ingredients to choose from and asked to create a cocktail on the spot.
Tomasz's challengers included Phillip Jones, from Panda & Sons in Edinburgh; Colette Abel, from Milk Bar in Reading; and Simone de Luca from High Road House, part of Soho House company.
Tomasz impressed the judges with his clean style of bartending, his consistently balanced drinks and his overall presentation.
He'll now be joining UK ambassador Herman Van Broekhuizen on the ultimate trip through Europe, where Bonnie Prince Charlie himself lived in exile, discovering the roots of Drambuie. From there they will travel to Isle of Skye where, on the run, after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden, Prince Charles had to escape from the King's men aided by John MacKinnon. It was in gratitude that the Prince gave MacKinnon the secret recipe to his personal liqueur.
The other competitors didn't leave empty handed however, all walking away with a bottle of that liqueur originally handed down to John MacKinnon in the 1740s.
Garnish: Orange twist. Serve alongside dried oranges and redcurrants dusted with sugar.
Method: Shake ingredients over ice and strain into glass.
30ml Dalmore 12-year-old
30ml pomegranate juice
20ml lemon juice
15ml homemade syrup (cranberry, Campari reduction, strawberry and Angostura Aromatic Bitters)
Simone De Luca.