Ireland’s best bartenders convened on Belfast this week to compete in the inaugural Shortcross Gin Signature Serve competition.
Over the past year, bartenders and mixologists across Ireland and the UK have championed Shortcross Gin, creating their own unique Shortcross serves. From the classic Shortcross G&T, served over ice with premium tonic and a spiral of orange peel to innovative new creations using pink grapefruit and fresh basil, there have been countless great Shortcross drinks served up and down the country and further afield.
The prestigious Shortcross Gin Signature Serve competition, which coincides with the first anniversary of Ireland’s most awarded gin, attracted entries from right across Ireland. The grand finale in chic Belfast cocktail bar, sixty6, saw 16 competitors showcase their Shortcross Signature Serves to a judging panel for the chance to have their drinks promoted as the recommended serves to the growing legion of Shortcross Gin fans across the Ireland, UK and further afield.
Judges, Olivier Ward from Gin Foundry and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch; Caroline Wilson, Northern Ireland’s Local Food Hero 2015 and founder of Belfast Food Tours; and David Boyd-Armstrong, Head Distiller, Rademon Estate Distillery were tasked with awarding the top three Shortcross Signature Serves in two categories: G&T Serve and Summer Serve.
In the highly competitive Shortcross Signature G&T category, Stuart Podmore from Muriel’s Café Bar in Belfast triumphed with his Muriel’s Signature Shortcross Serve, consisting of Shortcross Gin, Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic Water, fresh orange ice cubes and a sprig of fresh mint as a garnish to win the coveted title of Shortcross G&T Signature Serve champion. Stuart wanted to create a serve that not only complemented the flavours of Shortcross Gin, but also was easily replicated at home for everyone to enjoy.
In the Shortcross Signature Summer Serve category, judges were presented with a range of highly creative and excellently executed cocktails but there could be only one winner, with The Merchant Hotel’s Micheal Brown deemed the victor. His Summer Serve, ‘9 Hour Bill’ enhances and complements the subtle sweetness and citrus notes of Shortcross Gin with fresh orange and lemon juice, whilst the addition of Campari further boosts the zesty drink with a bitter element, with egg white added to round off the flavours and create a refreshing drink, to welcome summer back in style.
Shortcross Gin is the first spirit to be launched by Rademon Estate Distillery – Northern Ireland’s first and only craft distillery. Founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Fiona and David Boyd-Armstrong, Rademon Estate Distillery is located at the couple’s historic family estate just outside Downpatrick, Co. Down. The first batch of their super premium craft gin, Shortcross was released in May 2014 to great critical acclaim and the word is spreading fast.
In just a year since its launch at the Rademon Estate Distillery, Shortcross has quickly become the choice of discerning gin drinkers at home and abroad. From Belfast to Dublin, London to Edinburgh and Paris to San Francisco, Shortcross is causing a stir in the global craft gin market.
In April, the award-winning Co. Down gin added to its already impressive list of accolades, winning a Silver Medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2015.
Commenting on the competition, David-Boyd Armstrong, Co-Founder & Head Distiller at Rademon Estate Distillery, said: “It was a highly competitive event where Ireland’s best bartenders showcased their talents with our wonderful and versatile gin. Every cocktail varied greatly in both flavour profile and presentation, with the judges hugely impressed by the inspiration, passion and expertise displayed on the evening.
“We will proudly be displaying the winning serves on our bottles throughout the summer months so people can try to recreate these serves at home.”
The winning Shortcross Gin signature serves are also now available to buy at Muriel’s Café Bar and The Merchant Hotel, Belfast.
For further information, to find a stockist near you, or to view recipes and pictures from the Shortcross Gin Signature Serve competition, visit www.Shortcrossgin.com
Shortcross Gin Signature G&T serve winner: Muriel’s Signature Shortcross Serve, Stuart Podmore, Muriel’s Café Bar, Belfast.
35ml Shortcross Gin
Fever-Tree elderflower tonic
Garnish: Fresh orange ice cubes and a sprig of fresh mint
Stuart Podmore from Muriel’s Café Bar, Belfast explains the inspiration behind his Shortcross Gin signature summer serve: “We wanted to create a simple yet beautiful serve to compliment this lovely gin. The orange ice-cubes were unique, looked good in the glass and were a wee bit of fun! We chose the elderflower flavoured tonic water because of the presence of these flavours already in the gin, and not only does a sprig of mint look good but it also creates a lovely fresh clean smell when taking a drink.”
Shortcross Gin Summer Serve winning cocktail: ‘9 Hour Bill’ by Micheal Brown, The Merchant Hotel
35ml Shortcross Gin
20ml orange juice
10ml lemon juice
10ml citrus sherbet
1 egg white
Garnish: orange zest
Micheal Brown from The Merchant Hotel explains the inspiration behind his Shortcross Gin signature summer serve: “The inspiration for ‘9 Hour Bill’ came from the classic cocktail, Maidens Prayer, dating back to 1907. The original drink consisted of gin, orange curacao, orange and lemon juice. This take on the classic uses the Irish craft gin, Shortcross, with its subtle sweetness and citrus notes being enhanced and complemented by the fresh orange and lemon juice.
“The addition of Campari further adds to the zesty drink and brings a bitter element, along with the egg white this rounds the flavours off nicely to create a refreshing drink, which will help welcome summer back in style.
“The name takes its inspiration from William Sherman-Crawford, a prominent landowner in Co. Down and a radical reformist of his day. He stood as a representative in parliament and held the position of Sheriff of Down. He fought for the 9 Hour Bill, Irish tenants’ rights and many other important social issues for Irish people and workers as a whole. There is a stone obelisk standing on the Rademon Estate, where Shortcross Gin is made, erected in his memory by the people of Co. Down.”