Giancomo Giannotti & 2006 – One of Heerings 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Giacomo Gianotti, born in Tuscany, wanted to be a bartender “since the beginning,” he said. Having come from a background of hospitality (his family run an ice cream business), Giacomo has been involved in the hospitality industry since he was a child, but wanted to do something special and different to his parents and brothers. The idea of being a bartender always inspired me.

Following some time at hospitality school, he moved to London to learn English, and it was during this time in London that he discovered “a city with amazing cocktail bars and training, and it was there that I started my journey,” he added.

Giacomo went on to be crowned the 2014 World Class Competition Spain winner and then opened his very own bar, two events he told us made him realise that bartending would be his career from here on in. Fast forward to today, and a regular week for him includes working as one of the owners of his bar, Paradiso, as bar manager, as well as travelling constantly, “exporting Paradiso’s philosophy and style around the world!”

Giacomo chose 2006 as the year that has inspired his cocktail for the simple reason that “It is the year that Italy won the World Cup. It was incredible – everybody was partying and the most important element was that everybody was friends! Which can be quite difficult in Italy at times.”

He continued, “The cocktail I have created reminds me of the cake that my grandmother made me the day after the World Cup. It was a very special moment and one I will always remember. Unfortunately, she left us same year too.”

Of Cherry Heering, he said: “When I think about Cherry Heering. I’m think back to my first days bartending in London more than 10 years ago. I always related Cherry Heering with the classic cocktails and the history of cocktails.”

“The flavour remind me of my childhood, and I love it for mixing because is very versatile; good with sweet flavour, as well as working well with savory and umami ingredients.”

The element of the bartending industry that excites Giacomo the most is “without a doubt, the creation of new drinks – the creative process behind a drink, the introduction of a new ingredient and creating a new concept in general.”

Paradiso, the bar he works in, is a “speakeasy bar, modern style,” he went on. “From the street, what you will see is a pastrami bar and behind a vintage fridge there is Paradiso.”

“You enter Paradiso and find an elegant bar crafted from wood and white marble. The atmosphere is elegant but informal, and the service is very familiar.”

“Our signature cocktails are what stand us apart from the rest. We focus on surprising our guests and all their senses, from the flavour with exotic ingredients, presentation of the cocktails and aromas to unusual glassware.”

“I think sustainability is a huge issue within the industry and one that the industry as a whole needs to take notice of. I really hope that the future will see all bars start to respect our motherland, starting by refusing to use plastic straws and finding an alternative solution, reusing waste and of course recycling,” he concluded.

 Saffron & Cherry

40 ml Saffron Vodka

15 ml Cherry Heering

15 ml Rice Cream

3 ml Cynar

10 ml Lime triple sex ( i forgot to add )

1 dash cardamom essence

Glass: Rocks Glass

Method: Shake all ingredients and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice

Finish with float of Cherry Heering

Garnish: Butter biscuit, salt caramel cream and a cherry



Arkadiusz Rybak & 1823 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Maggie Beale

Arkadiusz Rybak illustrates the importance of sustainability and consistency in the bar industry

Before transferring to Hong Kong to set up the contemporary Japanese izakaya on the 6th floor of the Landmark in Central district, Arkadiusz Rybak spent three weeks of intense famiiarization at Zuma in London to perfect his knowledge of the house bar concept and style.

He now trains his award-winning team at Zuma Hong Kong by using the same successful principles. “Each drink has to be made with the same consistency and quality. And we always use the jigger for exact measurements.

“I believe that in whatever industry you’re in it’s important to be humble, open minded and honest. There will always be both positive and negative feedback, which are great tools to learn from. As a team leader I think it’s important to make sure all of my team are involved in all projects, it’s good team work and leadership that make great things happen!”

During his many travels prior to settling in Hong Kong, Arkadiusz explored countries across Europe, from Greece and France to the UK, working in fine dining Michelin Star restaurants and five-star hotels. His inspiration also comes from world-renowned chefs.

“I have become further inspired through travel, books, experimentation and exposure to celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Adam Simmonds and Richard Phillips. It was they who mentored and taught me how to play around with flavours and kitchen techniques but I prefer working at the bar rather than in the kitchen. I like experimenting with new products, ingredients and techniques.

And consistency is maintained far and wide as the drinks menus also feature nine signature cocktails that are exactly the same in every Zuma in the world.”Whether you are in London, Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Miami or New York, these signatures all look and taste the same. And, each city will have its own menu according to product availability. As Zuma is a Japanese restaurant & bar, we offer a wide range of sake, as well as a selection of contemporary cocktails using only premium spirits and liqueurs. We mainly use Japanese fruit and vegetables that are freshly flown in everyday.”

“To be distinctive we make all our own infusions, syrups, bitters, pureés and essences including the sprays. Like a gourmet kitchen — we start preparing our mise-en-place at lunchtime and each bartender prepares different mixers.

“Another novel idea is the use of exotic herbs and plants for which we have to do a lot of research through books and the internet. These herbs and plants are already being used by chefs in the kitchen so we use our imagination to experiment and create new drinks for the bar.”

Arkadiusz explains how Zuma’s cocktail menu is divided into sections: “We have Aisu cocktails made with Japanese whiskeys using filtered ice blocks; Sosaku cocktails with seasonal fruits and herbs; Sake & Shochu cocktails; and Odayaka ni cocktails which use infused spirits that have been resting in glass decanters or oak wood barrels for a minimum of three months allowing them to mellow and gain a smooth, rich taste.”

And why keeping up with bartending news from friends and colleagues around the world is essential. “With more interest in quality cocktails worldwide, we need to keep up with the changes, not only in product production but also the drinking styles and fashions of the customers. So, each week (at Zuma) we will learn about classic cocktails as well as focusing on one brand or product each time. This provides the team with more knowledge and also encourages them to come up with new ideas for new creations. Each month, we also have a knowledge and practical test so they really do need to research and learn through study and practice.”

Arkadiusz also revealed his immediate plans.”I have recently become an ambassador of HK EnvironMentalists, we work to promote a change towards sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the Hong Kong bartending industry. At Zuma Hong Kong, we have removed plastic entirely from the bar, using only 100% biodegradable potato starch and paper straws, and introducing drinks that utilise spare ingredients from the Zuma kitchen. I am proud of my contributions to make the bartending industry more environmentally friendly.

“For Heering’s 200th anniversary, I have chosen the year 1823. As it was in this year that a Polish gentleman, named Hartwig Kantorowicz, started to produce vodka in my hometown of Poznan in Poland. Vodka has been popular in Poland since the 16th century, but the end of the 19th century marked the start of the industrial production of vodka in Poland.

“Cherry Heering brings back memories of summers in my hometown Poznan, in Poland. As a child my friends and I could be found climbing trees and tucking into endless amounts of cherries! The cocktail I would make to reflect this is inspired by my childhood memories of summers in Poznan.”



30ml Wyborowa vodka

25ml Cherry Heering

10ml Italicus


Method: Stir in a mixing glass with chunks of ice, pour over one large cube in an old fashioned glass.

Glass: Old Fashioned

Garnish:  Orange peel.


Max Greco & 1989 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Hayden Wood

Born & raised in Calabria Italy, Max moved to London at the age of 23 to start working as a barista, at a small bar called Bank.  After working Bank for 10 months under the guidance of Grant Collins, he moved onto Zander in London for 6 years.  In 2006 Max moved to Sydney and was fortunate to work in a few of the best bars Australia had to offer including; Zeta Bar, Bayswater Brasserie and Eau De Vie. Max is now the proud owner, drummer and captain of his own bar, Vasco, in Sydney’s Surry Hills where Rock N’ Roll shares centre stage with crafted cocktails and a legendary party atmosphere.

Max chose 1989 as a year from the history of Cherry Heering not because of steely guns and cherry red roses. “Well, 1989 it is special to me in terms of cocktails because at the end of 1989 Tommy DeMayo (father of my great friend Julio DeMayo) created the Tommy’s Margarita in San Francisco, California. Tommy’s Restaurant en Cantina has been open since 1965 and they’re still celebrating 50 years!”

“Apart from being one of my top 3 favourite cocktails ever, it is the first cocktail where agave nectar or agave syrup, whatever you want to call it, was first introduced into a cocktail.”

“1989 was also the year when a lot of my favourite bands started shaking off the 80’s hairspray and ushered in the new generation guitar music. Bands like Guns N Roses, Pearl Jam, Nirvana & The Red Hot Chilli Peppers provided the soundtrack to my cocktail education.”

Max is a guy who truly loves the industry and one visit to his bar gives you clues to where he sees bartending heading. “Sustainability. Zero wastage. Some of this started in London but its now being embraced all over the world, especially the United States & Australia.

“To give you a quick example, you have a bunch of mint. You use the sprig for your garnish, you use the leaves to muddle or something then you’re left with the stems. We used to throw them away. No more. Some use them to infuse spirits, some people make mint powder or some people use it to make a flavoured sugar syrup.”

“What I’m trying to say is that we try to use everything from our fruit, our veg and our herbs. We try not to waste anything. I think that’s the biggest thing at the moment. And also, I see there’s a lot of lost classic cocktails coming back. They are the ones that will get you out of trouble on a busy day. Sustainability and go back to the old bloody great cocktails!”

Max is also on a one man mission to not take himself and the industry too seriously and to re-inject good old fashioned simplicity, entertainment and fun back into the bar scene.“I don’t know. We’re all rock stars now. We all want to be someone. We’re missing the good part of the ball, which is the fun. Some places are sterile. Some are too obsessive. You can see through social media – bartenders arguing amongst themselves about recipes. These things have already been done before but now they add all sorts of mists and smoke! I wonder if the bar industry could be a little more simple. Simple and fun.”

Fun is what Max and his bar Vasco is all about. A night out with Max and Cherry Heering is a night to remember! “A couple of years ago the beautiful Adele Robberstad from Cherry Heering visited Australia and came to my bar. After a few Blood & Sand’s Adele, me and a couple of mates decided to go out for a drink. I’m like, what a great idea. Let’s go out.”

“I don’t know how but we ended up in a seriously iconic gay bar in Kings Cross called Stonewall. We were probably the only straight people in there and there was some sort of talent contest / strip show on where the winner gets $50!”

“Suddenly my legs just walked themselves on to the stage. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m turning around and everybody’s, hey, take your pants off! So, I took my pants off. Then I turned around and realised it was a competition for the best ass.” “The winner was judged by a round of applause from all these lovely people around the room and guess what? I won the fucking fifty bucks. The only straight guy in the room wins the fifty bucks! Singapore Slings are on me!”

Max continues to practice what he preaches – sustainability, simplicity, great drinks but most of all Rock N’ Roll and a $50 piece of ass!


Makes 1 drink

45 ml Calle 23 Criollo Tequila Blanco 49.3% ABV

25 ml fresh lime juice

15 ml Cherry Heering

10 ml Spicy Monin white Chocolate

Glass: Rocks

Method: Shake e strain into a chill rock glass with big ice cube.

Garnish:  smoked cherry on a stick


Salvatore Calabrese & 1861 – one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

A bartender to the stars, inspired by great European events and legends of the industry, Salvatore ‘The Maestro’ Calabrese sets a high bar in the world of hospitality.

Born in the small town of Maiori on the Amalfi Coast in 1955, Salvatore Calabrese’s career began at the tender age of 11 when his father found him a job at a local hotel bar, The Hotel Regina Palace, “to keep me off the streets during the long summer school break,” he explained.

“My job was to clean up and run errands for the head barman, Signor Raffaello, who soon became my mentor. He was the Humphrey Bogart of bartending; dressed in his impeccable cream jacket, he spoke several languages and was Mr hospitality, a great grounding experience at such a young age and he has been my inspiration ever since.”

From there, Salvatore progressed to working in the restaurant at Hotel Panorama, Maiori, where he rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever maître d’ on the Amalfi Coast. “Sadly, I lost my father not long after he found me my first job and I wish he could see what a wonderful opportunity he gave me and where it led me. I will be forever grateful.”

Following a move to London shortly after meeting his wife Sue, Salvatore explained that his “love for the bar industry really took off when I landed my first job in London at The Dukes Hotel in 1982. It was here that I really began to feel that my future lay behind the bar.”

It was here also, that he soon made his name selling Liquid History and developed his very unique way of serving the perfect martini cocktail.

“To this day, Dukes Hotel still has the reputation for selling the best martini in the world; super dry and super cool, known as The Direct Martini or Naked Martini, created following my technique.”

Salvatore explains that the year of the inspiration behind his Cherry Heering cocktail, 1861, is of great importance to him due to the declaration of the unification of Italy being announced that very year. He explains, “Giuseppe Garibaldi was an iconic Italian hero who grew to symbolise the unification. He always wore an orangey red kerchief around his neck and so he and his kerchief are the inspiration for my cocktail”.

His greatest memory of the liqueur came I the early 90s, “It was one of the first times that I created a twist of a classic cocktail. A lovely lady asked me for something with Cherry Heering in and the first thing that came to my mind was the classic Blood and Sand. I wanted to make something special for her so I created Blood Love with Gin, made from Cherry Heering, blood orange juice, egg white, caramel syrup and a touch of sichuan pepper. Needless to say, she loved it and asked for it every time she came in to my bar.”

It is Salvatore’s belief that “the bar is one of the greatest theatres that there is. Being center stage of that theatre and creating a bar with a soul is what makes me tick.”

“A great bar should be one where the client wants to return again and again, not just for the superb cocktails but the whole experience where they find a warm welcome and a bartender who cares about his craft,” he continues. It is for these very reasons that hospitality comes at the top of his list when speaking to aspiring young bartenders.

For Salvatore, the industry doesn’t come without its unique issues. He explains “the main issue is young bartenders failing to appreciate the importance of being a great host. Often, they place too much emphasis on their skills as a mixologist and can sometimes forget to work on their rapport with customers, which is arguably the most important element of our jobs. The customer should always come top of your list and this is a rule I try to live by.”

 Garibaldi Kerchief


50ml Orange juice

30ml Campari

20ml Cherry Heering


Build directly in the glass with ice and stir


A twist of orange and a cherry


Old Fashioned

Monika Berg & 1913 – one of Heering´s 200 Years

Words of: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Monica Berg is Exactly What the Bar Business Needs

Monica Berg is someone who can really only be classified as an industry leader. And in spite of the fact that it’s overused, it isn’t a term that should be taken lightly. To be honest, there are two types of people in this business: those who follow, and those who lead. And Monica Berg is definitely a leader.

Monica hails from Oslo, Norway, and began her career behind the bar when she was only 18 years old. That’s a really young age to be behind a bar, but she’d been working in the industry well before that. That’s one of the qualities of a leader: they don’t always play by the rules. Anyway, Monica was a big success in the cocktail and culinary scene in Oslo, but she always saw London as the center of the cocktail movement and in 2013 she moved there to manage the bar at Pollen Street Social

As a young bartender, one of her dreams was to go to Singapore and have a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel, but at the time it felt almost unachievable to her.  When she moved to London, the first drink order she received was a Singapore Sling, and she thought about how wonderful it was to work in a place where those sorts of classics actually get ordered. A few years later, she did actually go to the Singapore and try one – and it gave her the opportunity to sit and think about how much the industry has changed over the past decade.

But what Monica’s not telling you is that she is one of the people responsible for making such monumental changes to the industry. But since she’s far too humble to say that herself, just let her curriculum vitae speak for itself.  In 2015, she was awarded the Linie Honorary Award, an award given to individuals for their great ambassadorship for Norwegian food and drink culture, and in 2017 she received the “Industry Improver” award at the Nordic Bartender’s Choice Awards.

She was part of the bar & creative team at the famed Himkok cocktail bar and microdistillery  from 2015-2017. The bar was Top 10 for Best New International Cocktail Bar at the Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail in 2016, and was included in Worlds 50 Best Bars in 2016 and 2017.

She is the co-founder, along with other industry titans such as Jim Meehan, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Xavier Padovani, Alex Kratena, and Joerg Meyer, of P(OUR), an industry non- profit, which works to share knowledge within the drinks industry through an online platform and an annual Symposium.

Berg is passionate about education and knowledge, but does not simply rely on branded trainings as many do. She advocates an open source, more objective initiative, that can educate younger bartenders on the basics. This means that she works hard not only focusing on the liquids, drinks and produce – but also teaching others career-level management skills. “If we want people to think of bars as a long-term option, we need to accommodate for it,” says Berg, “ and we need to start teaching people the answers to the ‘Why’s’ and not just the ‘How’s’.”

For her cocktail, named “Equal Opportunity”, Monica selected the year 1913. The drink itself is a tribute to Norway, which was the third country in the world to pass a bill giving women the power to vote, after more than 30 years of hard work by the women’s movement.

Being a massive lover of aquavit, she couldn’t pass up the chance to make it the base of her drink. 1913 was a few years before Norway’s national prohibition kicked in, so there were still a few independent distilleries around. Sherry was not uncommon, as the trade with Spain dictated a certain amount Norway was required to purchase annually. And while citrus may not be a natural part of the Norwegian flora, there are written sources referencing citrus orchards in the eastern part of Norway in the mid 1800’s, and by the early 1900’s, trade with the rest of Europe was so strong that cities had access to exotic imports.


Aquavit is combined with Cherry Heering, fino Sherry, and pink grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker. The drink is shaken with ice, and strained over fresh ice in an Old Fashioned glass. Finally a grapefruit peel is used to finish the drink.


Monica is currently in the process of opening her first bar in London, which is estimated to open in 2018, and it’s certain to be another unique and stand-out program that will shine like a beacon to the rest of the world. “There was a period where it felt like everyone was just copying each other, whereas now, it feels as if the bars are more a reflection of the team working – as it should be in my opinion.”

N. Bakoluis and V. Kyritsis & 2014 – one of Heering´s 200 Years

The year 2014 was a landmark for Nikos Bakoulis and Vasilis Kyritsis, the best-known bartenders in Greece: it’s the year they opened, with three non-bartending partners, their much-awarded bar, The Clumsies. Kyritsis cites it as one of the three greatest experiences of his life, alongside winning World Class Greece in 2012 (Bakoulis won in 2011) and working a stage at Tony Conigliaro’s Drink Factory.

In fact, after working together for five years and co-owning a business for more than three, the pair consider each other brothers. They finish each other’s sentences, complete one another’s thoughts, and might, for all the world, be related – an affinity that comes in handy in the workplace. “We try to work as one person,” Bakoulis explains. “There are small gaps, for example Vasilis gives more focus to upstairs and the lab and how the lab runs, while my focus is more on the bar needs and the daily routine. But for the drinks we work all together as a team.”

So insanely inventive are those drinks that The Clumsies’ menus – themed around topics including Einstein’s theory of relativity – can be news events in and of themselves, while the bar holds the highest position in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Bars list outside of London and New York. Their 2017-18 menu, Genesis, centres on Greek words that have been adopted into English. With drinks titled Nostalgia, Eureka, Chaos, Echo, Phosphorus, Siren, Nectar and the like, it neatly solves one nagging problem for Greek bartenders: creating drink names that both their home customers and their international audience can understand.

A new menu is in the works for spring, but the pair’s Heering cocktail, Aristocracy, follows the Greek-English pattern: the name literally means “rule of the best”. It’s a hybrid of the gin and tonic and the cherry gin sling, with extra complexity from their house-made Mediterranean elixir. (Bakoulis and Kyritsis got to know each other while working at The Gin Joint, and it’s still a spirit that’s close to both their hearts.)

While the part of The Clumsies which draws media attention is The Room, an intimate, reservations-recommended upstairs space that houses no more than 13 guests, the pair and their partners are more than comfortable in the world of high-volume bars. The Clumsies’ downstairs space holds 350 people and the drinks list, which focuses on vintage cocktails and premium spirits, is entirely different from the cutting-edge and often culinary concoctions served upstairs.

In recent years, Athens has come to punch far above its weight in cocktail terms. For a city of under 700,000 people in a country with fewer inhabitants than Moscow, the Athenian bartending scene is spectacular. Yet, the pair agree, it’s a very new phenomenon. “Our first bar was only opened in 1957, so if you compare it with London or New York, where some bars have 200 years history, we only have a short time,” says Bakoulis. (The bar, Au Revoir, is still run by the founder’s son and has never been redesigned, Kyritsis adds.)

Before that, the only businesses that sold alcohol were kafeneio, Greece’s answer to the village pub or an old-fashioned Italian bar. “You could have a coffee and some meze (a little tapas), with some ouzo or tsipouro: but no spirits like whisky or gin,” Bakoulis says.

Both Bakoulis and Kyritsis have worked in bars since they were 18. They agree that Greece’s economic crisis helped drive the growth of the hospitality industry, not least because so many people drifted into the trade due to pressure on more conventional jobs. But they also feel, although the only drinks brand to have travelled outside Greece is Metaxa, that the country has good bartending fundamentals. “We have a lot of fresh spices, herbs and fruits – and when Greeks start to do something they give their best,” says Kyritsis. “That’s why Greek bartenders have grown their skills very, very fast, and having so many ingredients with good quality gives us the chance to work more creatively.”

Yet if they could change one thing about the bartending industry, it would be addressing the egotism that can cloud what is still, at heart, a hospitality role. “We would try to explain to bartenders how important it is to be humble, and not focus only on the drinks but focus more on the customers, the people, the staff: try to lower down your egos and be more humble,” Bakoulis says.

“Everything starts from there,” Kyritsis adds. “If you work a lot with yourself, you can create better drinks: you open your eyes, you open your mind, so more inspiration comes to you.”


30ml Cherry Heering

15ml Old Tom Gin

Top up Mediterranean Elixir

Bubbles (ie: use a cream syphon)

Glass: Old Fashioned

Garnish: Mint Top

Method: Build

Mediterranean elixir: (500ml Flat Aegean Tonic from Three Cents, 100gr sugar, 3 gr. Star Anise, 3gr. Cardamon,250ml Clarified Tomato Water, 9gr. Citric Acid, 3ml Celery Bitters)

Cook everything on a sous vide for 2 hours at 50 degrees. Strain and store on a fridge.


The Mind of a Mixologist: Top Barkeep Grant Murray Discusses the Creativity Behind the Creations

by David Rosengarten

Grant Murray, Scottish mixologist, doesn’t like to pour out only spirits. In a drink, he also likes to pour out his heart.

I met the mega-tender last year at a bar in London…where he was visiting to compete in an international mixology event sponsored by Cherry Heering, the Swedish liqueur that sits proudly on many bar shelves around the world. Cherry Heering is requisite in one of the world’s most widely made cocktails, The Singapore Sling. The challenge for mixologists at this London event: come up with another Cherry Heering cocktail for the ages! To get to London, Grant had already come out on top of 2500 other international entries.

In London, Grant won handily, mowing down four other finalists from around the world…just as he was mowing me down with his delicious drink. He called it “Brace Positon,” and it consisted of gin, Cherry Heering, creme de violette, sugar syrup, lemon juice, and Scotch.

The drink set tongues wagging, the same thing it did to Grant’s tongue and mine…through many wagging conversations, first in person, later by transatlantic phone. For I found Grant Murray to be among the most thoughtful, analytic, articulate barkeeps I’ve ever met. So, with the man in front of me…and with mixology still raging like a wildfire across the bartops and dining tables of several younger generations…I knew it was time to get new insights into the modern phenomenon of extreme mixology.

What I wanted to know from Grant, most of all, was this:

Is there a creative path you follow to a newly-minted cocktail? Are there “rules,” of a sort, that others can adopt in their cocktail-creating efforts? Simply put: “hoots mon, what’s in your head?”

Not to my surprise…that Scottish head is indeed filled with lots of structuring thoughts. In fact, Grant regaled me with his rules of cocktail conduct, a road map to his professional mind. Here’s how Grant Murray goes about creating a cocktail:

1) A drink has lots more to it than the things you pour into it. “Sometimes I start with an idea, or a story I want to tell. It’s a great first step. Brace Position from the Cherry Heering competition is a good example. In the first stage, I thought about the classic cocktail called the Aviation: gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and lemon juice. But I’m from Inverness, Scotland, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, one of the great centers of Scotch whiskey. So for starters, I wanted to put my local stamp on the Aviation…perhaps with the addition of a peaty Scotch, like the Ten Year Ardberg. Then I realized: Aviation and smoke don’t mix…in the most literal sense! And the thought holds on several levels…for no one believed a smoky Scotch could be added to the Aviation with good results. But it can. If you sniff smoke in an airplane, brace yourself. And if you brace yourself for my drink, you’ll enjoy it. That’s why it’s called Brace Position. In a larger context…it demonstrates the possibility in this world of bringing disparate elements together. The best cocktails are built on complex thoughts such as these!”

Then Grant went on to a slightly more mundane checklist:

2) Most cocktails today involve sweetness. “It’s true everywhere, but it’s certainly so in Inverness”—where Grant is the GM of a company called Cav Holdings, which owns its original Bar One, and the more recently opened Scotch & Rye. “Think carefully about your sweetness when you invent a cocktail. Will it be simple syrup, made from sugar and water, with little extra flavor? Will it be fruit juice? Will it be the sweetness and flavor of a liqueur you might choose to add?” Like many mixologists, Grant often uses Cherry Heering for his sweetness, if it seems appropriate to the specific drink….as it is in the Brace Position, which alludes to the Aviation, which originally had a cherry liqueur in it. “Cherry Heering is often great in cocktails because it was never intended to stand alone; it was created as a drink-enhancer. It has a chameleon-like quality, blending in so well with so many things. If its hints of spice, nutmeg, jam and smoke seem appropriate to a cocktail…use it!”

3) A sour element is necessary to balance the sweetness. “I happen to love sour drinks—most bartenders do. But even if you don’t love ’sour,’ you want some in your modern cocktail. The simplest way to add sourness, of course, is by adding citrus juice, lime or lemon. But that brings a big floral taste with it that must be congruent with the cocktail. Simple vinegar brings less taste, but there’s nothing charming about it. Which is why balsamic vinegar, with its taste profile and sweetness, has become very popular among today’s mixologists. I particularly like flavored balsamic vinegars, of which many are now available.” Of course, another option is the “shrub”—which has become the buzz word of modern mixology. Bartenders everywhere now make their own “shrubs,” giving their drinks a kind of cachet. What are they? Basically, they are vinegar-based syrups, with a maceration of some kind. A sweet-and-sour liquid for your cocktails. Grant makes many, including his Blackberry Black Cherry Shrub. “I chop up blackberries and cherries, toss them with sugar, and store, covered, in the refrigerator for two days. I strain out the liquid, and add apple cider vinegar to it.” And where did this name ‘shrub’ come from? “From preserving,” Grant says. “ ’Shrubbing’ was an old English name for preserving.”

3) Many drinks are enhanced by the addition of something bitter.“Of course, Angostura bitters, available everywhere, are part of the barkeep’s stock-in-trade. But I think it’s much more exciting to make your own bitters. Just like making a vinegar-based shrub, I preserve my own ingredients to come up with something bitter. I make a great one from cacao nibs, which are bitter, mixed with earthy mushrooms…which goes just right with ginger syrup and gin!”

4) A little spice never hurts. “It feels like spice follows me around in my cocktail-making! I always have the instinct to reach for spice. Conceptually, I break spices into four categories: spicy spice (like chiles), back-of-the-head spice (like wasabi or horseradish), sweet spice (like nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.), and earthy spice. The latter is actually one of my favorite categories. I make a cumin tincture that goes wonderfully in many cocktails!”

5) Don’t forget a salty dimension. “Think of salt around the rim of a margarita: it ups the flavor of the tequila.”

6) One of the most interesting “new age” additions is “umami.” “This ‘fifth flavor’ has only been with us in the West for 30 years or so…but mixologists should take advantage of its wonderful possibilities. I like to make ‘venison fat wash,’ which is loaded with umami. I simply warm fatty deer meat with some liquid until the fat comes out, chill in refrigerator, then scrape off the white fat. A little bit adds a great flavor and a silky mouth feel to the right cocktail!”

And a few other basic “rules”…..

7) Seasonality. “Seasonality is fairly important.  whether you are creating drinks, or entering a competition…the time of year, the weather etc. certainly play a part in your selection of ingredients and perhaps the style of drink.  If it’s winter time, for example, you may opt for something warming and rich; in summer, perhaps, you would go for something refreshing and light.”

8) Localism. “Quite important for me. If i’m enetering a drink in a competition, I always like to include something that represents where i came from, whether that be local produce, or a locally produced spirit.  Sometimes just the story behind the drink has an element of locality to it, even if the ingredients do not.”

9) Order of Operations. “For me—and i stress this is very personal, and may differ for everyone—I start with a brand, or a product, and i explore its history, its origins and its ethos.  I usually grab onto something I identify with in the story and tie it in somehow to my own life or experiences.  I taste it, and do a kind of mind map of all the flavours i could explore.  Then i move towards definite flavour pairings, and balance, deciding which methods i will adopt to achieve balance, while showcasing the chosen element.  However, sometimes, from a business point of view, i start with what my customers want, and go from there!”

10) Luck. “Remain open to serendipity! I like to plan things out carefully…but that doesn’t mean I can’t deviate from the plan, during cocktail development, if a totally unexpected taste swims into my mind!”

 So what’s the best-selling drink at Grant’s bars in Inverness? “Without doubt,” he says,,,,”The Drumstick. We’ve sold almost a million of them since opening 8 years ago. It’s a combination of raspberry vodka, vanilla vodka, Cointreau, Chambord, lime and sugar—made to look like a lollipop, and topped with a lollipop!”

“The very most important thing for a working mixologist,” Grant concludes…”is to give the people what they want to buy. Otherwise…you’ll soon be mixing many fewer cocktails!”

Spirited city mixer is world number one on

Written byLaurence Ford

INVERNESS has its very own world champion – and that’s official.

Thirty-year-old Grant Murray has just returned from London where he won the prestigious Cherry Heering Classic Cocktail challenge 2016 title.

Grant, who lives in the Lochardil area, is the general manager of two popular Inverness bars, Scotch and Rye and Bar One – founded by his brother Scott – both of which have established themselves as leading movers and shakers on the city cocktail scene.

To win the title, Grant shook his way to victory against an incredible 2582 competitors from 46 different countries with his cocktail called “Brace Position” which contains a tantalising mix of Ardbeg 10 whisky, Botanist gin, Creme de Violet, Cherry Heering, lime juice and sugar syrup. The competition narrowed down to one competitor from each country taking part in the selection process and this was whittled down further to 10 people being flown to London for the semi-final with five going through to the final.

This was held in the Joyeux Bordel Bar in London’s Shoreditch last Thursday morning where Grant showed the best of the cocktail world that he is the number one.

Grant described the experience as surreal and said he still found it hard to take in that he was a world champion from Inverness.

“It is a major milestone for me,” he said. “It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I think it is incredible for me, its incredible for the bars I look after and its incredible for Inverness.

“It has been a mission of mine for the last few years and it is the biggest accolade I have ever received for my work. It is still hard to take in.”

And, he added: “I am so blown away, and unbelievably chuffed. I worked really hard for this and had so much fun doing so. I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for supporting me so incredibly.

“Thank you to my wife Faye and my beautiful little girl Evie for letting me leave them alone while they’re not well to go and do this, and being so incredibly supportive throughout.

“I was up against some great people and some brilliant bartending talent.”

He also paid tribute to his competitors who made it to the last 10, saying it has been great to hang out and work with them.

“I love this industry, everyone has been so amazing,” he said. “I truly have made some new friends this week and have learned so much from this experience.”




July – 2014 (Stockholm, Sweden) — The top Sling Stars with highest scores have been announced. The top fifteen became top seventeen due to dead even between three countries |The 2014 Peter F. Heering Sling Award is shouting out to the world which has grown from 27 participating countries last year to now 44 participating Sling inspired countries.

The Peter F. Heering brand has elevated the Sling Award competition to one of the world’s greatest and largest cocktail competitions and more importantly lifted this extremely talented group of global bar-stars into rare air in the ever-growing global cocktail scene competitions.

All 44 Peter F. Heering Sling Award National winners were afforded a stipend to support cocktail menus, cocktails of the month or whatever they felt would inspire their guests, friends and family to raise their profile and their Sling achievement, in addition the National winners were encouraged to utilize their social media to maximize the “peoples” vote aspect of the competition.
The global finalists will be judged in London, England led by bar legend Simon Difford. Difford will lead a prestigious jury panel that will include media, tastemakers and bar experts who will determine the Top 5 Global 2014 Peter F. Heering Sling Award finalists who will move onto Berlin, Germany to compete LIVE October 7th at BCB Bar Convent Berlin to determine the global Sling Champion.
This elite global finalists of The 2014 Peter F. Heering Sling Award will receive one personal electronic tablet containing instructions for the semi-final that take place in London, to create a 3-minute (maximum) video of their Sling-spiration.

“Do not even attempt to create a Singapore Sling if you don’t have a bottle of Cherry Heering”, stated bar legend, and noted “King Cocktail”, Dale DeGroff “Cherry Heering is the undeniable, most important and most delicious component of the Sling”

The 2014 Peter F. Heering Sling Award Top 15 scores

Country Finalist Sling Cocktail
➢ Armenia | Garnik Sahakyan | Sling’s Era
➢ Australia | Taka Shino | Bamboo Orchid
➢ Belgium | Ásgeir Bergmann Pétursson | The Sling Sling
➢ Brazil | Rafael Mariachi | The Peter’s Dream
➢ Canada | Taoufike Zrafi | The Bittered Sling
➢ Denmark | Nick Kobbernagel Hovind | The Sloe Sling
➢ England | David Hoggan | Sling Your Hook!
➢ Estonia | Sigrid Sarv | O’ Polo Sling
➢ Germany | Monika Katarina Peric | Shum Haw Sling
➢ Hong Kong | Poon Ching Wan | Maroon Sling
➢ Indonesia | Rhys Wilson | Shennong Sling
➢ Italy | Walter Gosso | Julep Slingsake
➢ New Zealand | Venetia Tiarks | The Merchant’s Daughter
➢ Norway | Erik Danilo Wistner Rafto | Rooftop Romance
➢ Poland | Stanislaw Zachariasz | Julep Sling
➢ Singapore | Aron Christian Lobrino Manzanillo | Fables of the East
➢ USA | Jon Kraus | Pepito’s Slingshot

Peter F. Heering – has had a history of 200 years as one of the first global brands (EVER) – the unique honor to be purveyor to every royal court worthy of their name while possessing the proper style, class and breeding to socialize across the courts of the world. HEERING® has always been fashionable. CHERRY HEERING® is a small but indispensable component of the world famous iconic cocktails such as The Singapore Sling, and that is exactly how HEERING® likes to be seen; as an accessory that adds lavishness, extravagance and civilization to the mix.

The world famous cocktails such as The Singapore Sling and Blood and Sand are two of Cherry Heering’s primary unique selling points – The Singapore Sling should be on the drink list in any decent bar.

HEERING® continues to evolve and recognize that even the timeless classics need a refreshing remake now and then, thus HEERING® has challenged the best of the best behind the world’s bars to create their own interpretation of The Singapore Sling and also possibly writing their name in the history of cocktails.

CHERRY HEERING liqueur is sold in more than 100 countries all over the world. For more information about Peter F Heering or The The Sling Award, please visit or

2014 Peter F Heering Sling Award Announce 44 Global Finalists on

Having grown from 27 competing countries in 2014 to 44 this year, the Heering Sling Awards have evolved into proper global competition.

The first stages of this year’s comp have taken place, with the winners of national heats being announced, and making up the global pool of finalists.

Moving forward, the finalists will now be tasked with promoting their drinks in bars and to the public, with the assistance of a stipend from Heering. You can view their efforts on the Peter F. Heering Sling Awards Facebook page.

The next steps involve a semi final on August 26th in London, and global final at Berlin Bar Convent over the 7-8th October this year.

Congratulations to everyone who won their National heat, and a special slap on the back to David Hoggan from The Hoxton Pony for becoming the UK’s representative.




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