Aidan's ENTRY FOR No.3 GIN COMPETITION

Scotch & Rye

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In May of 2021, No.3 Gin launched their annual nationwide cocktail competition, this year’s was titled “Pursuit of Perfection”. Bartenders up and down the United Kingdom were challenged to create a cocktail inspired by something they find perfection in.

Published: 9 June, 2021

For me, that was Ernest Hemingway’s 1929 novel “A Farewell To Arms”.

Set in Italy during World War 1, it tells the bittersweet love story of Henry; the American protagonist who joined the Italian army at the outbreak of the war, and of Catherine; the young, innocent and beautiful English woman who is stationed in Italy as a nurse. Their story is filled with trials and tribulations of the war that surrounds them around them and equally the happiness and joy of falling in love. 

For me, it was always a story of two contradicting halves that came together to produce the perfect expression of life and love.

I set out to create a drink that celebrated the contrasts within the novel, the contrasts between the two protagonists’ personalities; one being kind, light, delicate and beautiful, the other being darker, bittersweet and more complex. The contrasts between Hemingway’s long, beautiful descriptive passages and his short, sharp, often brutally honest dialogue.

However, most importantly I wanted to exemplify the contrast between the idyllic and moving love story in the novel and the brutality and realism of Hemingway’s depiction of the war that surrounds them, hence the name of this cocktail – Love and War.

I, therefore, wanted to make a drink in two opposing halves which when together complimented each other and became greater than the sum of its parts. 

The first half I wanted to represent Love and so wanted it to be light, delicate and so I used No.3 Gin as the base, bringing citrus and juniper flavours with subtle hints of spice, I then added Citric Acid solution to provide a delicate vibrancy and pleasant astringency and finally, I added a few drops Orange Blossom Water to complement the citrus flavours within No.3 Gin and to provide a wonderful aroma.

In the second half, I wanted to be darker, more complex with more earthy and bittersweet flavours to it. To create this I used a trio of Italian ingredients to pay homage to the setting of the novel, I used Cynar; a bittersweet artichoke liqueur, Amaro Montenegro; a bitter Italian liqueur made from a secret blend of 40 botanicals, with strong vegetal notes with hints of sweet vanilla and orange peel and finally Primitivo; a full-bodied Italian red wine to provide rich, fruit-forward flavours.

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