East by North East, made by Tom Proud, the general manager of Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Pleased to Meet You, was created after the site was shortlisted in the Best Spirits Bar/Pub category of the Great British Pub Awards (GBPA).
Each of the five finalists, including Pleased to Meet You, the Queen Charlotte, Spoken, the Trading House and the Water Lane Bar & Restaurant, made a locally inspired cocktail after being shortlisted in the Diageo-sponsored GBPA category.
Proud’s drink, a twist on the julep, uses mead from Lindisfarne’s Holy Island as well as Fentimans ginger beer from Northumberland.
Finalists in the spirits category made their locally inspired cocktails in front of each other in August at Diageo’s Customer Collaboration Centre, as part of a masterclass day for category finalists.
More than 600 guests
The drink will be served to 600 guests at the pub industry 'Oscars' tomorrow night (5 October) at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London, before the winner of the Best Spirits Bar/Pub will be revealed at the prestigious awards ceremony.
Proud, who was also shortlisted in the Best Spirits Pub category last year, said: “It means a great deal to be announced the winner of this competition and to have the best pub cocktail in Britain.
“I’ve always liked the julep, I think it’s a great classic drink, but I wanted to do a twist using gin as we’re a gin bar and the idea for it came together very quickly.”
One of the judges, MA’s food and drink editor Nicholas Robinson, said: “Each of the cocktails were made to perfection and so the competition was very hard to judge.
“However, Tom’s East by North East really stole the show with its use of Yuzu sake liqueur, mead and Tanqueray gin. It was a well-balanced cocktail, a very clever twist on a classic and a drink the north-east should be proud of.”
Fellow judge and head of on-trade category development Faith Holland, said: "I love the way the cocktail uses both local and global ingredients, and think this certainly increases its appeal to consumers."
Director of Tin & Glass Consultants Alex Percival, who was also on the judging panel, said: "The aromatic citrus of the yuzu fruit, the fresh mint and then the honey from the Lindersfarne mead were a great combination. The name is perfect too!"
Proud’s cocktail will be fully revealed in Drinks Deconstructed in the 17 October issue of MA along with a step-by-step video.
Mead, ginger beer and gin
The finalists’ cocktails
- The Butler’s Handover, Queen Charlotte, Windsor
- The Bishop’s Bramble, Water Lane Bar and Restaurant, Bishops Stortford
- East by North East, Pleased to Meet You, Newcastle
- Pirate’s Brew, Spoken, Exmouth
- The Wisely Wonder, Trading House, London
Along with mead, ginger beer and gin, Proud used fresh lemon juice, gomme and mint in the drink.
The other finalists’ cocktails will also be revealed over the year in the MA’s Drink Deconstructed section along with tutorial videos.
At this year’s Future Trends: Spirits event industry experts from across the spirits category revealed the results of exclusive research, trends, business boosting information and discussed the future of the sector.
Read all about it in MA’s online coverage of the event in the coming weeks.
Sponsors of the event included headline partners Diageo and Schweppes; associate partners Pernod Ricard UK and the Wine and Spirit Education Trust; and bar partners Warner Edwards, Masons Yorkshire Gin, Slingsby Artisan Gin, the City of London Distillery and Willis Publicity.