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No.3 Gin is one of the rare examples of a brand that can effortlessly blend the contemporary with the historical – it’s a traditional London dry with a recipe that drips in heritage but is designed to satisfy the creative urges of the UK’s top mixologists.
To prove its credentials as a drink that blends the old with the new, No.3 Gin hosted a cocktail competition at London bar Graphic and asked some of the city’s top bartenders to create a cocktail of classic simplicity.
Since No.3 Gin is infused with only three spices and three fruits, the competitors were asked to choose three key ingredients to work with, from a choice of more than 30. The full list of ingredients was kept secret from the competitors right until the last minute, then 'unlocked' as the competition started.
Perfectly positioned to oversee proceedings was judge and cocktail expert Wayne Collins. Collins was helped in his task by Toby Shellard from spirit company Maxxium and Tom Sandham, who was judging on behalf of Square Meal’s sister drinks publication Imbibe.
Ashton-Hyde was first to compete and delivered a highly creative Grapefruit Tea. ‘I like bitter drinks and love the freshness of the basil. I created an infusion of basil and gin in an atomiser to spray over the drink at the end,’ he said.
Next up was Cappella, who kept things simple with his 1698. ‘I love No.3, as it works well in my favourite cocktail, the negroni,’ he said. ‘I prefer bitter flavours, but I decided to use elderflower cordial and orange because this is one of the key botanicals in No.3.’
But the winning drink came from Stern (pictured, left). ‘When I saw the mystery ingredients, I noticed Bols Crème de Cassis liqueur, so went for that to keep the Dutch association with gin,’ he explained.
'Once I had that flavour, I started to think about Champagne and the kir royale. With No.3 as the base, I thought about the botanicals, so also included grapefruit juice. The name was easy: Royal No.3.’
Stern’s cocktail ticked all the boxes and earned him a private tour of No.3 St James’s, inspiration for the gin’s name, plus lunch for two.
Now it’s your turn to create a cocktail using No.3 Gin and three other key ingredients of your choice. Send the recipe, the name of your creation, and a short explanation for your choice of ingredients to email@example.com, along with your contact details. Since three is the key when it comes to No.3 Gin, the judges will pick three winners.
The creators of the three winning cocktails will each win a No.3 Classic Martini gift set, (pictured right). The gift set includes a bottle of No.3 Gin - a gin that's perfect for Martinis - and a bottle of Dolin Dry Vermouth.