Bar consultant and creator of Drinks Enthusiast, Dave Marsland, returns with all the latest behind the scenes news from Manchester's bar and cocktail scene. 

Manchester Whisky Club

The luck of the Irish swept into Manchester at the end of last month as Jameson Brand Ambassador Stephen Carberry hosted the Irish evening at the latest instalment of Manchester Whisky Club. He brought with him a great selection of the portfolio, as well as a look into Irish whisky that included a pop quiz at the end, with a bottle of Jameson for the winner. Interactive tastings are definitely the way forward!

 Stephen Carberry Jameson

Stephen Carberry treats Manchester Whisky Club to a lesson in Jamesons

Owls, bisons, cocktails

Zubrowka, the bison grass vodka from Poland, made an appearance at Epernay these past few weeks complete with an owl, to help Brand Ambassador Pawel Rolka host their latest adventure named ‘Night Owls’. Included in the session were a vintage tasting, master classes and the launch of a cocktail competition. It was the perfect chance to pop into Epernay, as their bartenders work on some great cocktail ideas! 

Everyone's a Benedictine winner 

Speaking of Epernay, they were the bar to be at last Monday as Benedictine hosted the Manchester heat of their annual competition. Seeing competitors from bars including Almost Famous and Epernay themselves, the judges could not decide who would go through to the final to be held in London later this year, so they decided to have them all as winners! Expect the Manchester scene to take over London very soon!

Manchester --> Amsterdam

On the subject of taking over, three bartenders from Manchester jetted over to Amsterdam for the finals of the Sloane’s cocktail competition. This year’s winner Alex Jones of Almost Famous and runner-up Charlene Holt of Apotheca joined last year’s winner Chris Mosey of Keko Moko. Going up against bartenders from Scotland, London and Amsterdam, the 10 finalists enjoyed re-creating their drinks for the judging panel (which included your very own Drinks Enthusiast), and left them with one of the closest competitions to call to date. In the end, Alex Jones was beaten by a whisker with his creation Sloane Ranger by ex-Manchester lad Leon Dalloway, now of the City of London Distillery. 

Alex Jones Sloanes Gin Competition

Almost Famous' Alex Jones competes in the Sloane's cocktail competition finals in Amsterdam

G'Vine Gin 

Another hard-fought victory for Manchester involved G’Vine gin and their annual G’Vine Connoisseur Programme held in Cognac, France. After four intense days involving seven challenges for 15 finalists from around the world, our very own Jamie Jones of The Liquorists came through and won himself the chance of a lifetime to represent G’Vine at two of the worlds biggest drink shows in New Orleans and Berlin. And if G'Vine Gin's your thing, check out this great G'Vine Gin Tasting event at The Blue Pig on June 25th. 

I’d say Manchester is becoming the place to be for innovative and award winning cocktails!