Following a countrywide search to identify the most talented bartenders, five leading mixologists have been named as U.S. finalists in Caorunn Gin’s international cocktail competition, the 10 Year Switch. The winning U.S. bartender will have an opportunity to switch countries with their winning U.K. counterpart and work guest shifts a top bar to experience British cocktail culture firsthand.
The U.S. finalists set to compete at the international finals on July 31st in New York City are:
- Chris Bidmead from Blue Quarter in New York, NY with the ‘5 from home’
- Jacee Coelho from Travelle at The Langham in Chicago, IL with the ‘Pure Berry’
- Scott Jenkins from Hide Bar in Dallas, TX with the ‘Bog Standard’
- Caitlyn Moorhead from The Winslow in New York, NY with ‘Gincident Report’
- Chris Olivier from The Tasting Room at Rock Brothers in Tampa, Florida with ‘Caorunn Calling’
The international finals in New York City will include five bartenders each from the U.S. and the U.K. They will be judged by an expert panel led by Ryan Chetiyawardana (also known as ‘Mr Lyan’), founder of Dandelyan and Cub and one of the world’s most influential bartenders; Caorunn Gin Master Simon Buley; and the Godfather of Cocktails, Gaz Regan. One winner will be chosen from each country, both receiving an international prize– the opportunity to switch countries and work in one of the coolest bars in London and New York City so they may experience British and American culture at their finest.
The champions will also receive the honor of having their 10 Year Switch cocktail named as Caorunn’s signature serve in bars across their respective country.
The 10 Year Switch international cocktail competition was created to celebrate Caorunn Gin’s 10-year anniversary, which takes place this summer. The competition to meant to provide bartenders across the United States and the United Kingdom a once in a lifetime opportunity to build their personal profile on an international platform by showcasing their cocktail creativity to the world.
Gaz Regan, acclaimed author, judged the US entries against four distinct categories: the fusion of Scottish heritage and American influence; accentuation of the character of Caorunn Gin by taking inspiration from at least one of its five Celtic botanicals; its well-balanced and crafted taste profile; and the distinctiveness of serve through its visual appeal and creative presentation.
“While judging the cocktails in the Caorunn Gin cocktail competition, I was blown away by how the bartenders took on this challenge — specifically to create new drinks that showed off the many different directions while being guided by the various botanicals used to make this fabulous, and unique, gin,” said Regan. “Picking the five finalists was, in itself, a challenge for me, but I’m extremely happy with the drinks we’ve picked and excited to see the finalists when they compete in New York.”
10 Year Switch Finalist Cocktails
5 From Home
Created by Chris Bidmead of Blue Quarter in New York, NY for the Caorunn Gin 10 Year Switch
1 ½ oz. Caorunn Gin
½ oz. Laird’s Apple Brandy
¾ oz. dandelion syrup
¾ oz lemon juice
2 oz. club soda
Directions: Add all ingredients except soda into a tin, whip shake, and strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass. Top with soda.
Garnish: Dandelion flower
About the creation of 5 From Home for the 10 Year Switch competition, Bidmead says, “Dedication to hand foraging and sourcing ingredients shows a true love of craft. Taking inspiration from Caorunn Gin, I wanted to use ingredients that highlight the foraged botanicals in the gin as well as local ingredients from New York. The apple brandy brings in apples from New York/New Jersey where the syrup brings up the dandelion highlighted in Caorunn. The name ‘5 From Home’, comes from the distance that a dandelion seed can travel.”
Created by Jacee Coelho of Travelle in Chicago, IL for the Caorunn Gin 10 Year Switch
1 ½ oz. Caorunn Gin
¾ oz. vanilla syrup
½ oz. lemon juice
3 large blackberries
1 egg white
Directions: Muddle the blackberries in vanilla syrup. Build ingredients dry in a shaker. Add 1-inch cubed ice and double shake with the egg white. Double strain into a coupe glass.
Garnish: Lemon Swath Curve & Blackberry
Coelho says her inspiration for the Pure Berry cocktail came from “the mass amount of beautiful green fields in Scotland and the natural fruits that grow in them. The name Pure Berry comes from the saying Pure Barry. In an attempt to nod at all things good in life.”
Created by Scott Jenkins of Hide in Dallas, TX for the Caorunn Gin 10 Year Switch
1 oz. Caorunn Gin
½ oz. Laird’s Applejack Brandy
.375 oz. Cocchi Torino
.375 oz. Old Pulteney Stroma Single Malt Liqueur
.375 oz. Citrus tonic syrup
1 bar spoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
Directions: Stir ingredients in a rocks glass with a single cube of clear ice.
Garnish: Core an apple into a long rectangle; remove seeds if desired
On creating Bog Standard, Jenkins commented, “I was inspired most by the spice of bog myrtle, which to me was very akin to allspice dram. I wanted soft heather notes, taken from the Stroma, and a bit of apple borrowed from Applejack. This drink is lush and soft, highlighting and enhancing the components of Caorunn Gin. Stirred to perfection and poured over a single cube, for slow sipping, and good times. I lived in England for over three years, and visited Scotland many times, the lush scenery reminds me a lot of this cocktail.”
Created by Caitlyn Moorhead of The Winslow in New York, NY for the Caorunn Gin 10 Year Switch
1 ½ oz. Caorunn Gin
½ oz. Noilly Prat Vermouth, Extra Dry
¼ oz. Brovo Curaçao Orange Liqueur
¼ oz. Bénédictine D.O.M. Liqueur
¼ oz. O.P. Anderson Aquavit
1 dash orange bitters
Directions: All ingredients added over ice in a mixing glass and stirred. Fine strain into a small coupe.
Garnish: Twist of orange peel
About creating The Winslow, Moorhead commented, “I wanted a drink that both complemented the botanical notes in Caorunn Gin without being redundant in its flavor profile. It’s a very booze forward cocktail in the style of classic martinis with a couple more twists. It’s herbaceous with subtle hints of bitter and fruitiness. It’s deliciously clean, yet complicated on the palate.”
Created by Chris (Scooby) Olivier of The Tasting Room at Rock Brothers in Tampa, FL for the Caorunn Gin 10 Year Switch
2 oz. Caorunn Gin
¼ oz. lavender syrup
3 dashes dandelion extract
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Directions: Muddle the bitters, extract and lavender syrup with orange and grapefruit zest. Add Caorunn then one large ice cube and stir in a double rocks glass.
Garnish: A twist of grapefruit and orange wrapped around a dandelion leaf
Commenting on Caorunn Calling, Oliver says, “The concept behind this cocktail was to showcase ingredients that are staples and icons of Scotland. The gin itself should be the highlight as the ingredients it’s made with are symbolic of the landscape. Scotland is rich in drinking history with Scotch, just as America is with bourbon. The distinctive spirits of each country have storied ties that paint a picture of the landscapes they come from. So, it seemed fitting to make a riff on an old fashioned as Caorunn is made by a distillery known for producing Scotch, and an old fashioned is made traditionally with a bourbon. This always allows the cocktail to show hints of bright and lightness vastly different from the grays of the Scottish country side. The cocktail should evoke imagery of a holiday.”