Distilled, the go-to platform for bartenders

Hey bartenders, here’s a quick one for you: where do you turn when you need a bit of guidance with the inevitable quirks that come with the job? You know, stuff like staffing, menu creation, advice with the best spirits best suited to particular cocktails, that kind of thing? Perhaps you have a mentor of sorts, someone whose knowledge and opinion never lets you down. Maybe you’ve built up a library of your favourite books to help with the topics in hand. You might rely on a few essential websites or perhaps dipping into magazines dedicated to the subject is more your bag. Whatever your preference, here’s a little heads-up: add distilleduk.com to your arsenal – it’s a one-stop shop for the world of spirits and pretty much everything that crops up both in front and behind the bar.

It’s from the folk at Carlsberg UK, who, let’s be honest may not necessarily be the first name you think of when it comes to cocktail expertise and spirit know-how. However, just like Crown Cellars (the arm of Carlsberg UK that deals with wine), the people behind Distilled really know their stuff. And they’ve got the goods to back that up too, with no less than 400 carefully selected spirits, ranging from Absolut to Zubrowka Vodka and Appleton to Zacapa Rum.

Confession time: we’re fairly new to the party as we’ve only recently discovered the site, which launched in April last year. And while we’re not the target audience, we can see how invaluable the regularly updated print and digital content will be for bartenders and operators who want to be kept in the loop.

Part friend, part guru, it’s packed with all kinds of info to assist with the day-to-day runnings of the bar. From getting the lowdown on the latest consumer trends to knowing what industry experts predict will be the next big thing, it’s all there, together with online videos covering all the nitty-gritty details behind the core spirits – things like fermentation, distillation and country of origin, all edited down to handy five-minutes guides. But it’s not done in a yawn-inducing, patronising way. The Distilled team have cleverly teamed up with our favourite booze boffins, The Thinking Drinkers – Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland, who have a knack of making even technical details sound fresh and new.

The duo are also behind a series of very cool downloadable mini-guides which work a treat for whatever stage of the cocktail journey you’re on. Take the recent one on Classic Cocktails (above) for example. Yes, it includes an ode to, plus three riffs on, the most classic of classics, the Martini, as well as a very informative piece on the family tree of the Daiquiri. There’s also an everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-the-Margarita story courtesy of Ocho Tequila ambassador and tequila expert Jesse Estes, and a look at the life and times of the Old Fashioned. But this isn’t just about the old guard, there are other treats too, including a look at modern classics like the Espresso Martini, an interview with Douglas Ankrah, he of the ubiquitous Pornstar Martini and insights into how to create a new line of classics working with Seedlip’s two non-alcoholic ranges. And just to mix things up a bit, the team head to Edinburgh where they highlight three of the iconic bars in one of the best bartending capitals in the world.

As you might expect, spirits also come under the spotlight, with the team delving into their extensive offering to showcase new and favourite products for making classic cocktails. Learn how Hayman’s Dry and Old Tom Gins, Bols Genever, Belsazar Vermouth, Our/London Vodka, Grey Goose La Vanille, Cazcabel Reposado Tequila, Cointreau Blood Orange and Cherry Heering, fit into the repertoire and which cocktails they work best in and why.

Katie Hewitt, Spirits Category Manager at Distilled (above), says: “We’re excited to be an integral part of the booming spirits market in the UK. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to bar owners and bartenders in order to build a strong and credible line-up of products that we have combined with tried and tested counsel in order to support businesses that are as passionate about spirits as we are.

“Our partnership with The Thinking Drinkers has helped us develop a different way of communicating information on the spirits category, which will continue to not only evolve in line with consumer trends but as they are hosted online, they are accessible at any time, day or night. We’re looking forward to extending the conversation to bartenders – celebrating innovative and exciting serves that can be executed perfectly every time.”

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