Liquers are the next stop in our serialisation of the Bartenders' Brand Awards.
As broad, varied and global as ever, the liqueurs sessions were actually won by a small ethical producer tucked away under the old railway arches in Manchester.
Mouse Kingdom they call it, and its Dark Berries was the bottling that made this fledgling brand the liqueurs category champ. It scored joint highest in the blind tasting – 42/50 – with judges noting “multi-layered complexity, lightness, balance and acidity among the berry and chocolate notes”.
Its wine bottle looks with artistic labels took a silver medal and when you add those together, taking into account the price – rrp £18 for 70cl – you have a gold in our value assessment too.
In second, and building on third place last year, is Muyu Vetiver Gris, the collaboration between bartender Alex Kratena and liqueurs heavyweight De Kuyper. Judges gave Vetiver Gris gold for its taste, gold for design, but a slightly lower mark for value for money, priced as it is at £33.
Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur completed the podium, performing best in taste.
Volare took spots four and five – impressive given the size of the field. Its Espresso Coffee (£14.99) was the gold standard on account of notes of hickory smoke, hazelnut, vanilla and green coffee, while its Triple Sec (£15.99) took gold for complex floral notes and a big burst of citrus.
The Bartenders' Brand Awards follows a three-step process to mirror buying behaviour, with each product blind-tasted, judged on value for money and by design. For more on the methodology behind the BBAs, read more here.