The UKBG has joined forces with the UKSA to bring together the wine and spirits trade under one roof for tastings, training and masterclasses.
On Monday, 12th of June, UKBG invites anyone involved in the London bar industry to join the UK Sommeliers Association annual graduation ceremony for a celebration of our combined interests in wine and spirits at Merchant Taylors Hall, London.
Where once, the UKSA held this event privately, this year, they invited the UKBG to participate. The UKBG grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has added a roster of all-star presenters for masterclasses, a signature cocktail bar, spirit-led tastings and training and a flair demonstration bar for the delight and knowledge exchange of participants.
Starting from 11 am in the morning, a day-long walk-around tasting hosted by brands in both the wine and spirits trades, then towards the afternoon, you’ll find masterclasses, an operational cocktail bar, a flair show, an award ceremony for all the recent graduates of the Certified Sommelier Courses and a competition for the title of Best UK Sommelier. The event wraps at 8.30 pm.
This new collaboration between the UKBG and UKSA means there will be a huge array of diversity and range in the opportunities on offer, including masterclasses from speakers such as Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell and World Flair Champion Sikky Chmel as well as tastings from brands like Equiano Rum, Bosque Gin, Heavensake, 5 Hats, Fabbri 1905, Limoncello Di Capri, Koffee, Tassoni and Giusti. We will also have experts from Bar Magazine and The Drinks Trust sharing their services and skills.
This event is a fantastic experience for all attendees. It is a unique networking opportunity for the trade and the most important annual social gathering for the wine and spirits trade to come together and learn from each other.
Founder of UK RumFest, winner of Drinks International Bartender of the Year, Global Rum Ambassador and presenter on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, Ian Burrell, will be hosting a masterclass on Equiano Rum, the world’s first Afro-Caribbean rum.
Equiano starts in Mauritius, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, at the pioneering Grays Distillery, which produces traditional molasses rum aged in French Limousin ex-Cognac barrels for a minimum of 10 years. It’s 100% natural — meaning no added sweetness or colours — and bottled in limited batches. Sales support grants for Anti-Slavery International, the oldest human rights organisation in the world.
Ian is an all-star edutainer and one of the world’s most knowledgeable speakers on rum. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity.
This 2022 World Gin award-winning craft gin hails from Argentina. Bosque translates to ‘forest’ in English — and has the same root stem as the adjective bosky — which is apt because the most prolific flavour comes from wild, foraged Patagonian juniper. Other botanicals include clove, citrus peels, cardamom, coriander, orange blossom and lemon verbena.
Come and hear co-owner Gerardo Bres talk about foraging as “meditation” because of the patience and detail that goes into a long day, harvesting and then sorting the usable juniper berries from the unripe. The piney, spicy Alta Montana release comes in at 53% ABV, so prepare to really taste the juniper. Then there’s Refugios Gin, matured in French Oak barrels, and finally, their Expediciones Gin, which is aged outdoors, exposed to the high altitude and weather patterns of the Patagonia mountains.
Want to see what happens when French refinement meets Japanese craftsmanship?
Labelled best sake 2019 & 2020 at the San Francisco Wine Fair, Heavensake is the first Franco-Japanese sake made by a chef de caves from the Champagne region. Eight times Best Sparkling Winemaker of the Year, Régis Camus designed Heavensake for the Western palate and cuisine. All his unique blends are all-natural, created with no distilled alcohol or added sugar, sulphite, or gluten, are additive-free, and are three times less acidic than wine.
This masterclass will take you through the range of blends, including Heavensake Junmai Daiginjo, produced in collaboration with the Dassai brewery; Heavensake Junmai Ginjo, produced in partnership with the Urakasumi brewery; and Heavensake Junmai 12, produced in collaboration with the Konishi Brewery.
We will have the honour of Sikky Chmel running a flair demonstration and masterclass. WFA Ambassador and World Flair Champion Marian ‘Sikky’ Chmel is a long-time Roadhouse bartender and former employee at LAB and the Blue Bar at the Berkley Hotel.
Sikky has won numerous national flair titles in Slovakia and in the UK, with five Roadhouse Champion wins under his belt. In the last three years, he has focused on the IBA World Finals and never placed lower than sixth place. His last world final was in 2021 at the WFA Ballie Ballerson, where he placed third.
The WFA is an association dedicated to flair bartending, bringing together bartenders from all sides of the globe and creating worldwide recognised professional standards. And Sikky is absolutely convinced that every bartender in the world can benefit from learning working flair, as it makes you a good all-rounder.
There will also be masterclasses from the makers of Tassoni and Guisti. Tassoni makes soft drinks and is most famous for it’s Cedrata, a citrus drink made from a Mediterranian citrus called Cedre. They will be talking about how to pair flavours with Tassoni Cedrata and their ginger beer. Guisti have been making Balsamic Vinegar di Modena for centuries, but have begun using their vinegar barrel to age Vermouth. They will discuss their processes, family history and taste the signature Giusti Vermouth with you.
Drinks hosting tasting tables will be scattered around the venue as part of a larger industry-wide walk-around. All of the brands included in our Masterclass program – Equiano Rum, Bosque Gin and Heavensake – will be there alongside the following brands;
5 Hats are an Italian marketing and distribution company with several unique heritage European brands to bring to the UK market. Taste a new and exciting range of beverages such as ZuPlun gin, which they will serve in their signature drink the ZuPlun Williams Sour.
From the makers of the Italian fruit syrups and ingredients comes a new gin made with juniper berries, bitter orange peel, liquorice and angelica roots, coriander and cardamom seeds on a base of pure Fabbri Amarena distillate– a unique base made from cherries.
A vibrant, tantalising lemon liqueur, Limoncello Di Capri’s zesty taste originates from the sun-kissed lemon groves of Southern Italy, where Vincenza Canale began selling her homemade recipe to the tourists visiting her home, the famous Mariantonia hotel on the island of Capri in the early 1800s.
Kofee will be showcasing its coffee machines and brewing up its inaugural Espresso Martini blend. The Brazilian beans provide a strong foundation for the cocktail, while the Guatemalan beans add a robust middle to withstand the shaking process. Finally, the Ethiopian beans give the cocktail a clean and modern finish.
Tassoni Cedrata is a refreshing, non-alcoholic sparkling citrus drink from Italy. It has a distinctive flavour and aroma that comes from citron – a thick-skinned, intensely fragrant citrus fruit also known as cedra. They will also showcase their ginger beer.
This historic company boasts know-how refined over its 400 years of family history. They will offer tastings of their artisanal Giusti Vermouth. Made from a selection of red and white wines aromatised with various spices, roots and herbs and sweetened with Saba, a cooked grape must, which is then left to slowly age in old balsamic casks from the Giusti family collection, the oldest producer of Balsamic Vinegar in Modena. Try it in their signature cocktail the Bologna Negroni!
Bar magazine offers inspiration, guidance & contacts for bar operators & managers to develop their business and fulfil a venue’s potential. This long-standing drink bible wants to connect with new venues, bartenders and trade experts.
The Drinks Trust is a support line for bar industry professionals. It provides enhanced well-being support to the drinks industry across the UK and wants to share its full range of services.
The walk-around tasting will take place throughout the day and into the evening to allow all our guests to participate. The event will enable producers and sponsors to meet sommeliers, importers, wine buyers, hospitality professionals, and wine and spirit experts.
All our guest brands will provide a signature serve cocktail that will be available to try at the event cocktail bar.
The event will occur between 11 am-8.30 pm in the prestigious Merchant Taylors’ Hall, five minutes from Bank Underground station. A historical venue that exudes elegance and style and offers a unique and timeless atmosphere. The full venue address is Merchant Taylors’ Hall, 30 Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8JB, and there are directions and transport links on their website.