Bar Supervisor wins Spirit of Devon cocktail competition

Dec 1, 2017 | Jenni Ashford

Chris Percy, Bars Supervisor at Exeter Golf and Country Club is celebrating winning the amateur ‘Spirit of Devon’ competition with Devon Life magazine.

The competition to find two gin-based cocktails to sum up the spirit of the county, was ran in conjunction with Salcombe Distilling Co. and Doctor Inks Curiosities. Open to professional bartenders and amateur cocktail makers, the shortlisted finalists had to create their cocktail in front of a panel of judges on 26 November.

Chris Percy, who has worked at Exeter Golf and Country Club for two years, entered the competition after a long interest in gin distillation. Chris was one of two winners, each winning a full tour of Salcombe Distillery, a masterclass at Doctor Inks Curiosities, 3 sets of Dartington Crystal cocktail glasses and a bottle of Salcombe Gin. His cocktail will also be listed in Doctor Inks Curiosities journal.

Chris’ winning cocktail featured Salcombe Gin in his variation of a Perfect Martini. His aptly titled cocktail, Perfect Devon Martini, included gin, sweet and dry vermouth, ruby red grapefruit juice and a home-made gorse flower syrup. Chris hand-picked the gorse flower from Woodbury Common.

The twenty-six strong judging panel selected winners on the basis of taste, Devon ingredients, imaginative thinking and a demonstration of knowledge and love of the county.

Chris has been developing gins for some time, experimenting with various botanicals. He began including Woodbury gorse flower in his gin production and liked the hint of flavour it created. He decided to take this further and make a syrup from the gorse flower.

Chris has a long-term vision for his passion for gin and creative ingredients. He would like to open his own craft distillery in the future and so is working towards getting a distilling licence.

Chris Jones, General Manager at Exeter Golf and Country Club said, “I am very proud that a member of our team has won this award.  Chris is very talented and I have been lucky enough to taste the gin he has made. Being a huge gin fan myself, I am envious that he is able to create his own craft gin and experiment this way with flavours. The use of gorse flower is inspirational as it sums up so much of the county from moorland to the coasts. We plan to sell Chris’ award-winning Perfect Devon Martini cocktail in our bars in the new year. Well done Chris.”

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