The world’s first clay bottle-aged cocktail competition organized by the premium gin brand Cross Keys Gin® has reached the next stage by announcing more than 25 UK-based bartenders that will compete for three months’ rent paid by Cross Keys Gin and a trip to the distillery where the gin is crafted.
Maris Kalnins, Global Brand Director for Cross Keys Gin at owners Amber Beverage Group, says, “With the trend for clay-ageing growing internationally we are seeing bartenders who have experimented with barrel-ageing cocktails in oak, looking to age their drinks in clay bottles. We know that the clay delivers interesting changes in taste and allows drinks to develop deeper colours, earthy tasting notes and a much richer quality to the liquid inside. The drinks remain clean and crisp as they aren’t taking as much from the clay as they would from ageing a cocktail in a barrel. It’s an exciting direction for the trade and for our Cross Keys Gin.”
Competitors represent a wide range of best UK’s bars and restaurants like The Den Soho, Aqua Shard, Twisted Lemon Brighton, 12A members club, Cottonmouth, Hedonist, Callooh Callay and many others. During the next stage of the competition, bartenders will receive an empty clay bottle and a full 70cl bottle of Cross Keys Gin. With five weeks to age their cocktail, the bottles will then be judged, and the winner will have three months’ rent paid by Cross Keys Gin and three best cocktail owners will win a trip to Latvia’s capital city, Riga, the crown jewel of the Baltics.
The tradition of ageing wine and spirits in clay stretches back centuries yet it is still very much alive today. In the Baltic States, where for over 250 years the pure, fresh taste of their drinks has been preserved using natural clay bottles, an award-winning brand Cross Keys Gin continues to see the benefits of storing and ageing in clay. Research shows that the clay bottles protect the liquid inside from sunlight, as well as extreme changes in temperature, and the porous properties of the clay allow a unique interaction between the bottle and the liquid.
Cross Keys Gin is a handcrafted, small-batch gin that takes its name from two crossed keys – an ancient symbol of urban hospitality in Latvia and part of Riga’s heraldry. It is bottled in a distinctive clay bottle to enhance the flavour and deliver its signature smooth taste. Distilled with four botanicals of juniper, rosemary, chamomile and linden blossoms, gathered during the Latvian summer, Cross Keys Gin captures the essence of the Baltics and the quality of the gin was recently recognised with a Gold Medal at The Spirits Business Gin Masters 2019.
The brand is owned by the Amber Beverage Group which is a leading producer, distributor, logistics provider and retailer of beverages. It operates internationally from its head office in Luxembourg and through its production and distribution companies in Russia, Mexico, the UK, Australia and the Baltics, its historical home.