Edinburgh’s top bartending talent was on show at last week’s inaugural Pickering’s Gin cocktail competition. Eight finalists took part – from Clouds and Soil, Bon Vivant, Spitfire, Juniper, Voodoo Rooms, Lioness of Leith and the Whisky Rooms – and the standard was very high. But there could only be one winner – step forward Zara Jones from Clouds and Soil in Picardy Place created a spectacular drink which married superb flavour and a clever deconstruction of tastes.
Judging the finalists were Matt Gammell and Marcus Pickering – co founders of Pickering’s Gin – Edinburgh’s first gin distillery in 150 years – yours truly from Gintime and Martin Duffy, founder of Solid Liquids and ‘man about’ Edinburgh’s bar scene. We were tasked with looking for well-made drinks that showcased how Pickering’s Gin has inspired the entrants to be assessed on a number of key qualities; taste, look, presentation and serve.
Zara Jones’ drink, the Beta Test (recipe below) fulfilled all the criteria and illustrated the serendipity between science and gastronomy in that she is an engineering student. As she said: “I love the science behind mixology. I worked on this recipe for that reason. The chemical composition of mango and black pepper enhance the flavour of juniper in the gin. It’s due to alfa pinene and beta pinene present in all three ingredients…Hence the name.”
50ml Pickering’s Gin
25ml black pepper and mango syrup
25ml lemon juice
20ml egg white
Paul Donegan, Pickering’s Gin newly appointed Brand Ambassador, continued, “It’s a truly exciting time in the gin world and the popularity of the product continues to increase and we are thrilled to be part of producing traditional high quality Scottish dry gin that has an amazing taste. Zara will be invited along to Summerhall Distillery, home to Pickering’s Gin, to create her very own gin. From start to finish she will be part of the process before being finally presented with a case of 6 bottles of her very own gin.”