Leeds bartender is shaken and stirred by cocktail success

Jamie Rowe. PIC: Tony Johnson
Jamie Rowe. PIC: Tony Johnson
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A Leeds bartender has shaken up the competition to be named among the nation’s best for mixing cocktails.

James Rowe, who works at Oulton Hall Hotel, came second in the Belvedere Vodka Know Your Martini competition - a hotly-contested national cocktail mixing championship in London.

The 27-year-old - who puts obscure flavours like smoked lemon sole and chocolate bitters into some of his drinks - went to the capital to battle it out with five others after winning a regional heat. He said: “I’ve always been interested in ingredients rather than just going out and drinking.

“Leeds has such a respected bar scene these days. Cocktails are there to be savoured, they have an air of sophistication and often cost the same as a single or double shot and have as much alcohol in them. Part of it is about respecting drinking. If people aren’t sure what kind of cocktail they want, we have all sorts of ways of finding out their tastes and we can make them a cocktail which will suit them.

“There’s no-one more social than a bartender.”

He also has no truck with what he calls “flair bartending”, where bar staff juggle cocktail ingredients and balance glasses on their elbows, adding: “At the end of the day you are there for a drink, not to watch someone juggle.”

Manager James Hughes said: “I am extremely proud of Jamie. Cocktail Masterclasses will be coming throughout the year at Oulton Hall and we do these on a regular basis.”

Contact the hotel on 0113 282 1000 for masterclass details.

THE BAKEWELL BLUSH

25ml of Gold Rum

25ml of Amaretto

15ml of lemon juice

15ml Grenadine

½ shot of Cherry Brandy

Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail can with cubed ice

Strain over ice in a Tumbler

Garnish with 3 cherries

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