The Pound, Canterbury Wins Dry January Cocktail Competition For Mixologists And Bar Tenders In The South East

Binary Reboot – A playful take on on a low-alcohol Bloody Mary created by Jamie Proud from The Pound, Canterbury and made with binary botanical 0.5% has been crowned winner of a new competition yesterday 20 January.

The Dry January Cocktail Competition was set up by Good Living Brewing Company to show that no/low alcohol cocktails can be exciting and delicious. Eight finalists, selected from dozens of entries, were invited to attend the event at Michelin-starred restaurant, L’ortolan, near Reading in Berkshire on Monday. The cocktails were scrutinised by judges Laura Willoughby MBE – Co-founder of Club Soda; James Purcell Lacey – Bar Manager at Coppa Club, seasoned beer taster and judge Dr Frieda Derhmann and L’ortolan’s sommelier and restaurant manager Marco Nardi.

Winner Jamie Proud says: “It means a lot to me to win. I’ve always enjoyed being a mixologist and it’s hugely rewarding that these expert judges liked my cocktail! I believe, as the days go by more people want no / low alcohol drinks and on our next menu we are looking to have more options for that reason.”

Danielle Bekker, co-founder of Good Living Brewing says: “Our goal in launching this competition was to celebrate low / no alcohol cocktails and we were blown away by the industry’s enthusiasm and the number and quality of entires – the range of flavours, infusions and presentation far exceeded our expectations.”

Competition judge, Laura Willoughby MBE says: “It is really exciting that the new wave of lo and no drinks are providing a stunning range of new ingredients for cocktails – as a base and a mixer. There were some great examples of that today! We are just at the start of this new market in low and no and it gives bartenders and the industry as whole new opportunity to experiment and delight customers. Beer makes a great cocktail ingredient and I would like to see it used more. It really helps move an alcohol-free cocktail from being a mix of kids drinks in a posh glass to a refined drink designed for adults.”

Judge Marco Nardi of L’ortolan says: I think no / low alcohol cocktails will only increase in popularity as people start to focus on well-being and the younger generation become less infatuated with alcohol.”

One of the ambitions of the Competition was to provide a showcase for bar tenders and mixologists in the South East of England and demonstrate that not all innovation is in London. Marco Nardi says: “The South East has an important concentration of good restaurants and bars but lacks visibility compared to London. I believe in the next few years they will represent more of a challenge to the Londoners bars. What we need to do is to support and promote the talent that we have in the region.”

Finalist were also set a Ready Steady Cook style challenge, to create a cocktail with a mystery box of ingredients which included binary 0.5 and no-alcohol aperitifs from supporter Aecorn.

The Dry January Cocktail Competition will run the competition again in 2021.

FINALISTS: Winner: Jamie Proud – The Pound, Canterbury

Binary Reboot – A playful take on a Bloody Mary, using asparagus and red onion syrup to add a savoury flavour to the sweet tomato juice.

Runners Up: Alistair Bell, The Flint House, Brighton

B.A.N.A.N.A (Binaries Are Not Always Neatly Aligned) – A dessert in a glass, with flavours of delicious ginger shortbread and banana.

Jayson Laranang, L’ortolan, Reading

BINaRY ESSENCE – A clever use of spearmint tea and herbs to create a refreshingly sweet but complex cocktail.

Other finalists: George Furney – GOGO’s Waterfront Restaurant, Windsor

Carmelo Villiva, Komo, Guildford

Umberto Di Fede – Hilton Brighton Metropole, Brighton

Vladi Fanotti, The Woodspeen, Berkshire

Ryan Betts, Rocksalt Restaurant, Folkestone