On Wednesday, 7th June, three experienced bartenders from different restaurants and locations across the UK competed with their perfectly mixed, summer drinks to become a mixologist of the first Chelsea Flower gin cocktail.
Chelsea Flower gin, a new London dry gin introduced to the UK market this May is a product of Partridges store and cafe in Sloane Square, which is celebrating its 45th anniversary. It will be an addition to Partridges Chelsea flower collection, which includes a range of upmarket groceries, such as floral teas, chocolates, fudge, biscuits, jelly and various gifts. To coincide with the local Chelsea Flower show, the new gin has a delicate taste with a hint of summer flowers. Its recipe consists of 19 botanicals, with some of them being rose petals, marigold, verbena, cassia bark and juniper. A perfect kind of alcohol for the upcoming hot months!
photo credits: www.partridges.co.uk
Partridges, the independent family-run food market was founded by Sir Richard Shepherd and first opened its door in Sloane Street, Chelsea in May 1972. In 1981 his younger brother John Shepherd took over the store and is now the current Managing Director.
In 1994 the shop was granted a Royal Warrant as Grocers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and in 2008 John Shepherd, the Managing Director of Partridges, became President of the Royal Warrant Holders Association. The Association comprises 800 firms who supply the Royal household on a regular basis.
Britain’s favourite alcohol is becoming more and more popular each year, according to the official records. “There are 260 branded gins in this country”, said Mr. Shepherd, “and 55 of them were created last year.”
The numbers prove that Brits are a nation of gin lovers, with 1.6 billion G&T’s being drank every year.
On a private cocktail party in Partridges’s café in Sloane Square, the guests could try three different cocktails made using the new Chelsea flower gin and vote for their favourite one. It was really hard to choose the winner, as all of them were unique in their own way and have an interesting background story, as well as their creators. The cocktails were judged on their taste, appearance and styling, percentage and its connection to the famous area of Chelsea.
The winner of the first ever competition of its kind was Pearson Chase from The Cocktail Service who came all the way down from Oxford to participate in this exclusive cocktail witchcraft. His drink Apidaes are here again is inspired by his own idea of how it would be to drive down the Kings Road in a fabulous car, with every building and shop window adorned with flamboyant floral displays bursting with colour; everyone around dressed in classic Mary Quant designs. He imagined the drink he would sip in this perfect moment and set about making it become a reality. And that’s not all!
By incorporating the rich nutrients in royal jelly he wanted to get people talking about what they can do in their own gardens to help save our bee populations, as they’ve been recently reported to slowly become extinct. The baby pink coloured beverage is served in a highball glass and garnished with flower petals in form of hibiscus, dried rose buds, cassia quill and decorated with a thin strip of honeycomb.
“I haven’t entered a cocktail competition in several years and I thought I lost my mojo cause I was stuck making really kind of cheap, cost effective drinks when you gotta look at the bottom line so much and I forgot how much fun and how brave a drink you can make when you take the reins off and allow your creativity to rain,” said the winner about his experience.
When asked about how he’s going to spend the rest of the evening and the cash prize of £250, he didn’t deny the true Brit inside of him. “I’m going to pay off some bills”, said Pearson.
photo credits: www.partridges.co.uk
Second place was granted to Zoltan Keresztes and his classy Rose Petal Martini and third place to Dmitrij Polvkarov who competed with his cocktail Chelsea’s flower- including an edible hibiscus flower inside every glass.
The winner, running on one hour of sleep and a bunch of expressos as he later told us, has scored the title of being the creator of the first Chelsea flower gin cocktail, which will be available to try at the regular Saturday market in Duke of York Square in Chelsea, Southwest London.
“Gin is a quintessential British drink and will be a central piece of the Chelsea Flower jigsaw that promotes all things Chelsea, Partridges and artisan food and drink makers!” added John Shepherd.
So if you’re among those who consider gin a necessary companion for life, make sure to visit one of Partridges’s stores in London and get yourself a bottle. With this new flowery gin, you’ll be a true superstar at any garden party this summer. And if you wish to try the Apidaes are here again cocktail and bring back the happy days to your life, make sure you’re in the SW area on the weekend. This boozy beverage will have its own stand, ready to please your taste buds.