The Famous Grouse Challenge of the Senses

Last Tuesday, The Famous Grouse invited me to take part in a cocktail competition. Being a relative novice in cocktail making, but a pro in cocktail drinking, I was excited and ready to participate. Brand Ambassador Nicolas Villalon walked us through the history of The Famous Grouse and then paired each media member with one of their five award-winning bartenders. However, there was a catch. For this competition, the bartenders were not allowed to touch anything, as members of the media were to make the drinks! Thankfully, I was paired with Zak Doy of Rush Lane & Co. who has been in the industry for over 14 years.

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The afternoon started with a quick overview of the basics of cocktail making. Zak went through the various tools involved for making cocktails and how to use them effectively. We then started with our first drink to present to judges. We created an egg white concoction called King Nick II. The judges enjoyed our drink, but thought the egg white needed to be shaken for a bit longer.

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For our second cocktail, we made a slightly stronger drink called Grouse Point Blank. We combined Montenegro, Aperol, grapefruit juice, and garnished it with a speared maraschino cherry.

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For the final round, each team was provided with a mystery box. Inside were various items that we had to combine in a final cocktail, for the grand prize. We had 10 minutes to come up with the drink idea and have it prepared for the judges to try.

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We created a cocktail called the Angus Breakfast. It combined multiple palatable elements including honey, balsamic vinegar, and apricot jam.

Afterwards, the judges tasted each team’s drink and scored beverages based on complexity, taste, and overall presentation. The judges concluded that the Angus Breakfast was the winner! Who knew I had it in me.

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Below are the exact recipes for the drinks we make if you wanted to try it out for yourself:

Grouse Point Blank 

1.5 oz. The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

.75 oz. Montenegro

.75 oz. Capo Capo/or Aperol

.75 oz. Grapefruit Juice 

Garnish: Speared Maraschino Cherry

Glassware: Nick and Nora 

King Nick ll 

2 oz. The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky

1 oz. Benedictine

Bar spoon of Maraschino liq. 

Garnish: Speared Maraschino Cherry

Glassware Rocks

Overall I had an absolutely wonderful time with The Famous Grouse team and learned a few things along the way. Next time you order a cocktail, try it with the rich taste of Scotland’s favourite whisky.

Yours truly,

mr cavaliere signature 2

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK VYROSTKO

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