Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Rock The Farm Finds & The Chase Cup 2014


Do you remember our Chase Distillery Rock The Farm giveaway last month? I hope our three lucky winners had a blast at the festival, but for everyone else here’s a quick round up of what happened...

The 30th & 31st August saw a unique bartenders and booze enthusiasts event set in the rolling countryside of Hereford; a serious lack of phone signal, and the fact that people had come from far and wide, made it seem like a secret gathering. There were bands, happy campers, sunshine, street food traders, farm tours, demos, talks, drinks... lots of drinks... It’s all a bit of a blur.

Meantime, the London brewers that we all love so much, had their own bar at Rock The Farm and were showcasing the collaborative beer that they’ve made with Chase. Created by replacing essential hops with a unique blend of botanicals from Chase’s gin, the ‘Botanical Beer’ has a very distinctive flavour. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almond, coriander, cardamom, cloves, liquorice, lemon and juniper were all used, bringing the aromatic citrus style of the gin together with Meantime’s full bodied brew.

The collaboration, which was unveiled at BrewFest the week prior to Rock The Farm, has been described as having background notes of fiery ginger, which I could agree with, and it’s got an overall sourness to it. ‘Botanical Beer’ is certainly unusual and well worth checking out, but I doubt you could drink it as a ‘session beer’. If you fancy buying it, a small amount will soon be available via Meantime’s online store and the Chase Distillery shop. You will also be able to get some from the bar at The Running Horse in Mayfair.

Another special product launch was Chase’s first ‘RTD’ cocktail – that’s a ready to drink for the rest of us. The Chase Marmalade Mule, an absolute classic, has been transformed into a 6% ABV pre-mixed cocktail in a can (250ml). It contains their Seville Orange Marmalade Vodka, ginger beer, fresh lime and bitters. It was the go-to drink across the festival, and will be hitting the retail market ASAP costing approx £2.50 (don’t quote me on that).

I won’t lie; I drank A LOT of these. It wasn’t overly sweet like many other pre-mixed cocktails are, and the ginger beer still packed it’s fire breathing punch! I’m pretty excited about these and you should be too; they’re perfect for picnics or day trip drinkies, and if you’re new to Chase’s Marmalade Vodka, then it means you can try it - in an ideal serve - without having to commit to buying a bottle.

The main event was of course The Chase Cup; on board a hay trailer pulled into the farmyard via a tractor, ten competitors took to the makeshift stage to create and present their cocktail to a panel of judges. These were the distillery's own James Chase, Simon Difford (all round drinks and cocktail god), Xanthe Clay (The Daily Telegraph), Ian Burrell (Rum Ambassador), Clinton Cawood (Imbibe Magazine) and Dominic Jacobs (The Running Horse Pub Mayfair). 

The finalists were given a mystery box on the day (not much time to prepare!), which included a whole host of local ingredients sourced within 12 miles of the distillery, and they had free reign to combine these with their choice of spirit from Chase's range. Having a peek in the box I noticed LOADS of different herbs, hops, honey, gooseberries, beetroot, fennel, and numerous other things, which promised some very interesting concoctions. 

It was fantastic seeing how each entrant had their own interpretation from the same box of ingredients, and whilst they ALL sounded divine, there could only be one winner. The Chase Cup 2014 went to Ben Hills from Browns in Liverpool with his Elegant Twist, which was a take on a Bramble. Second place went to Switzerland's Michael Kampmann with his gin and beetroot Rosemaund Club, and Robyn Wilkie from The London Cocktail Club came third with Willy's Secret; a hoppy-tomato-apple drink, using Chase's Elegant Gin and Willy's Cider. (For the full list of cocktail entries visit the Difford's Guide website)

All in all, it was the perfect celebration of all things Chase. If you're a cocktail lover and drinks geek like us at Vinspire, then this is one event that should not be missed! Watch this space for next year...

Ben Hill's Elegant Twist (serves 1)
  • 50 ml William's Chase Elegant Gin
  • 12.5ml Bramley Apple Juice
  • 12.5ml Freshly Pressed Lemon Juice
  • 5ml Monin Pure Cane Sugar Syrup
  • Handful of Tarragon Leaves
  • 6 Fresh Raspberries
  • 12.5ml Chase Elderflower Liqueur
  1. Place the Elegant Gin, apple juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup and tarragon leaves into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. 
  2. Shake the raspberries and Elderflower Liqueur with ice and strain over the drink Bramble-style.
  3. Garnish with dill.

Lead image and cocktail images courtesy of Chase Vodka's Rock The Farm official photos.

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