Three mixologists from Tyneside are tasting sweet success after using their skills and animal instincts to win a top competition.
Bar supervisor Steve Arthurs, 28, and bar manager Sam Boulton, who both work at Tiger Hornsby, and Jordan Moore of The Cocktail Project, all based in Newcastle, have seen off rivals from across the North East to win the regional heat of the prestigious Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender 2015 competition.
The trio joined forces to form the three-man team for the contest, organised by Scotch whisky brand, Monkey Shoulder.
Together they competed against five other teams in six rounds, which judged everything from their mental arithmetic in gauging gross profit to their accuracy in pouring measures.
And, not only did the team win the overall event, but Sam also came top in the accuracy, speed and ‘nosing’ rounds – creating five cocktails 22 seconds faster than the runner up and identifying 10 spirits by fragrance alone, while blindfolded.
The three will now take part in the semi-final of the UK-wide competition in Edinburgh in July, where, if they are successful, they will enter the grand final in London later this year.
The team which wins the national title will be rewarded with the chance to run its own pop-up cocktail bar during London Cocktail Week in October.
“We’re over the moon we’ve got this far,” says Sam. “We’d gone through heats to make it as far as the regional final but the competition really went up a gear at that point.
“We were up against some impressive competitors from bars across the region.”
Tiger Hornsby’s owner Rachael Frame adds: “Sam, Steve and Jordan have done brilliantly. Now we’re all rooting for them to nail the semi-finals and with any luck scoop the national title.”