Shortcross Signature Serve Competition 2017
At the tail end of June, Ireland’s best bartenders made like Avengers and assembled at Shortcross Gin’s home on the Rademon Estate in Downpatrick, Ireland to battle it out at the second ever Shortcross Signature Serve competition. The prize? Well… the lucky winner got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to create their very own gin alongside Head Distiller David Boyd-Armstrong.
The third annual competition was not just a display of the country’s ever growing food and drink scene, it was a chance to take stock on the meteoric rise of Shortcross Gin. The brand will be celebrating its third anniversary this summer, and it was clear for all to see just how far their journey has taken them since 2014: Not only have they stepped into whiskey production, but they’re due to open a visitor centre very soon, and despite a huge amount of competition now, a quick run of their numbers shows that their shiny still is a very busy one indeed.
The Signature Serve Competition followed a regimented format, in which each bartender had 15 minutes to present their serve, talking drinkers through both the inspiration behind it, the story they want it to tell and – most importantly – how it’s made. Shortcross G&Ts, served with either orange peel or pink grapefruit and fresh basil were also on hand to remind drinkers just how versatile the spirit is.
Hundreds of entries were whittled down to twenty-two finalists, and the victor amongst them – following a hard days muddling, shaking, stirring and chatting- was named as Alan Glynn of 37 Dawson Street in Dublin. His cocktail, the Cross Club, not only complemented the flavours within Shortcross Gin, but was a complex and intriguing serve that would be easy enough for even the toast-burners of the world to recreate at home.
We’ve taken Alan’s winning cocktail here, as well as three others that caught our attention during the evening. We’ve simplified some of the recipes to make them a little more accessible, but trust us when we tell you to try them – you won’t be disappointed.
Signature serves can, at their best, provide fantastic flavours as well as a moment of escapism that’s relevant to the ingredients being used in the gin itself. Taking inspiration from Shortcross’ botanical profile, throughout the competition many of the drinks being created all tried to carry the impression of a verdant and ever changing country estate.
We can see why too as for us, Shortcross is a gin very much of its place and in being so, is both layered and complex. It’s also adaptable and can be harnessed in a multitude of ways, so multiple interpretations on the theme “signature serve” will always be wide reaching and filled with creativity.
It’s worth noting that the standard was incredibly high and the cocktails that we have taken note of here could have been a much longer list. We selected these ones however, as we felt they best combined moments of clarity in the flavours they are deliver as well as have a strong sense of place. Even if only for a fleeting moment in time before they evolve into the next part of their intriguing flavour journey, these all capture a moment, a story and have the potential to harness the gin and take it to the next level.
Try them for yourselves and let us know which one you would have as your winner!
Shortcross Signature Serve Winner: The Cross Club
40ml Shortcross Gin
20ml Raspberry Puree
10ml Pineapple Syrup
25ml Lemon Juice
3 Chocolate Mint Leaves
1 Egg White
Dehydrated Pineapple and a Mint Leaf
A twist on a Clover Club, this winning serve managed to create a sense of playfulness and originality, as well own enough depth to appeal to all accross the panel. If you make it, add all ingredients to a shaker without ice first and shake for a while, then open, add ice and shake again. The double shake will help with the froth.
35ml Shortcross Gin
10ml Creme de Cacao
10ml Grand Marnier
5ml Johnnie Walker Red
10ml Simple syrup
Orange and Lemon peel cross
Stir all the ingredients over ice and fine strain into a chilled coupe glass. This is a classically styled, late evening sipper and a perfect night cap. Definitely one for those who love a Martinez! Created by Ciaran McKenna from the Apartment Bar, the other advantage of this cocktail is that it can be pre-batched for those of you looking to make it at home ahead of when guests arrive… After dinner digestif anyone?
Forget Me Not It’s a Gin Sour
35ml Shortcross Gin
15ml Orange Liqueur
30ml Infused Rosemary Simple Syrup
30ml Homemade Beetroot Puree
50ml Lemon Juice
1 egg white
Edible flower with Rosemary Sprig
As the colour might suggest, this is beetroot-tastic! It’s both the cocktail’s strength and its Achilles heel as the ingredient dominated the mix on the night, just tipping it away from harnessing the gin’s flavour profile to competing with it. The recipe above is as its creator, Jefferson Inglanilla of Cyprus Avenue, intended, but we upped the Shortcross to 50ml when we recreated it here to give the gin more prominence. The combination of flavours are unusual and delicious!
45ml Shortcross Gin
20ml Fresh Lime Juice
20ml Fresh pink Grapefruit Juice
25ml Homemade Cinnamon and Rosemary Syrup
Top-up with Sparkling Elderflower & Hibiscus
Pink Grapefruit Wedge
Created by Waterford Castle‘s Ilario Alberto Capraro, this is Summer in a glass. Well, summer with a sense that it might just rain at any moment and that it’s actually not that warm outside, so everyone’s very glad that this isn’t all as light and breezy as a Spritz…. In essence perfect for a Belfast summer! The combination of rosemary and cinnamon in particular is inspired in this cocktail but be warned, one can turn into three very quickly…
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