Monday, 24 August 2015

The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy Launch

Wednesday 19th August saw the launch of The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy at one of The Lucky Onion's Cheltenham venues; The Tavern. 
A drinks academy you say? Yes, there really is such a thing! And thankfully, I was invited along to see what all the fuss is about.
Owned by Sam and Georgie Pearman, The Lucky Onion group includes a number of award winning boutique hotels, bars and restaurants in the Cotswolds; No. 131 No. 38 the Park, and The Tavern in Cheltenham, along with The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, and The Chequers Churchill. 
Priding themselves on not being just a faceless chain, The Lucky Onion is "a group of chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, hoteliers, graphic designers, artists, event creators and interior designers, who all have a passion for design, travel, food and drink". The new Drinks Academy will be collaborating with a number of suppliers - Coe Vintners, Tanqueray Gin and Ketel One Vodka made an appearance on the night - to develop a programme to improve skills, confidence and knowledge, helping everyone build a successful career within the industry. 

Bartenders from across the town were invited to the event, and in his speech, Sam Pearman highlighted the fact that there shouldn't be competition between the different venues because, essentially, everyone's goal is the same. Striving to create a wonderful experience for guests is of utmost importance, and The Lucky Onion Drinks Academy hopes to bring an extra dimension to this service.

Personally, I found this really refreshing to hear; sharing skills and developing creative recipes, rather than just bitching about what each other's bars are doing, should be what it's about. So, hopefully, with the help of the soon-to-be training schemes for spirits, wines, ales and coffee, Cheltenham might firmly be put on the drinking-destination map. 
On the night, coupes of prosecco and pints of Bobby Beer (who we've featured on Vinspire before) were flowing, before we were treated to live music from local band Thrill Collins whilst an abundance of cocktails did the rounds. 
There were Bloody Mary Masterclasses with Ketel One's David Beatty, gin chats with Tanqueray's Tim Homewood, mini wine tastings with Coe Vintners' Dave Allen, and various cocktail and canapé pairings - my favourite being the 'Dill or No Dill' with pig's head terrine bonbons - just fantastic! 
2015 has been a great year for The Lucky Onion so far, and it's certainly no stranger to hosting the most exciting events; there have been collaborations with top chefs including Fergus Henderson, Mark Hix, Valentine Warner and Sabrina Ghayour, as well as musicians such as Gregory Porter, Trevor Nelson and Cerys Matthews. The launch of the Drinks Academy is sure to boost their status to new heights, and with further expansion plans for the business, including the introduction of the Lucky Onion Chef Academy, this is a company to take note of.

Let's toast to being keen drink enthusiasts - on both sides of the bar! 

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