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Peller Icewine Cocktail Competition

We love Icewine. It’s such a fragrant, flavourful, unique and luxurious wine, which is also perfect for cocktails.

The Pellers are Icewine pioneers. In fact, they’re amongst the first families to explore the possibility of this unique Canadian dessert wine. With vines cloaking the Niagara Peninsula, frozen grapes are handpicked at -10C, resulting in wines which straddle the fine line between sweetness and acidity.

To celebrate this extraordinary golden liquid, we launched a cocktail competition for our customers with the chance to win a six-day trip to heart of Canada’s wine country, visiting Icewine pioneers Peller Estates.

Competition was fierce, but we've narrowed the pack down to five entrants who'll now go on to compete for the grand prize at Imbibe Live. We checked in with the lucky five finalists to find out the inspiration behind their drinks, and their thoughts on using Icewine as a cocktail ingredient.

Miran Chauhan, The Bon Vivant, Edinburgh

Cocktail: White Tail

Inspiration behind your drink?

The inspiration was simple the flora and fauna of Canada, referring to the white tails of the deer species that reside near the Peller Estates. I took a direct link and used deer antlers to alter the chemical compounds of manzanilla sherry as they contain at least 50% ash content.

Method

  • 60ml Peller Vidal Icewine
  • 15ml navy strength gin
  • 10ml ash washed manzanilla sherry

All stirred down over ice. Poured into a chilled ISO glass.

To make the ash wash: cut into an antler to expose the dry marrow and soak in manzanilla for one month at varying temperatures between 5 and 15 degrees. Turning frequently.

How did you get into bar tending?

I got into bartending through working with design consultancies. During my time at various practises where we were designing new concepts for hospitality is would also work in the venues to earn some extra money. I quickly fell for the amazing community structure and exposure to all these great flavours that were around.

The best part of the job?

I guess just making people happy which comes from great service. Also being able to travel round the world tasting amazing food and drink helps!

Miran Chauchan, The Bon Vivant Your cocktail of choice?

That's a hard one. I go through phases. Right now I love a Bennett Cocktail. Gin shaken with lime, sugar and bitters. It's so simple, but aren't all the best things.

Your most memorable cocktail and food experience?

Again there are so many. Most recent though must be The Monday Room in New Zealand. Just two guys running the whole show, great food and drink, providing amazing service, and their knowledge is right on point without the ego.

Why you think Peller Icewine works as a cocktail ingredient?

Well it's already naturally balanced so all you have to do it find a direction that you want the cocktail to go in. So it's a case of just adding one or two subtleties to get you there. Also the food pairings you can achieve are endless.

 

Thomas Ryan, Doctor Ink’s Curiosities, Exeter 

Doctor Ink's Curiosities_TRyan

Cocktail Name: 1.5 Degree Shim

Method

  • 50ml Peller Cabernet Franc Icewine
  • 25ml Peychauds Aperitivo
  • Top Soda

Built over ice and garnish with frozen orange slices and red berries. It can be scaled to a Punch Serve very easily as it involves no citrus or bitters.

Inspiration behind your drink?

I was heavily inspired by the shim/low-ABV trend emerging of late and also wanted a drink which was accessible to the summer crowds of Exeter. The name is a reference to the winery's geographical location in relation to Bordeaux, France, where the Cabernet Franc grape originates from.

How did you get into bar tending?

Started as a barback in a high-volume South-American cocktail bar and tried my first Old Fashion after my second shift. Was instantly hooked, eventually progressed to tending bar at a Video Games bar, and then moved to Exeter about half a year back, where the owner wanted us to be more pro-active about entering comps.

The best part of the job?

The creative freedom. I come from an arts degree background, love nothing more than when a customer comes in on a quiet evening and says "what can you make with that bottle there?"

Thomas Ryan, Doctor Ink’s Curiosities

Your cocktail of choice?

Manhattan, with a nice punchy Rye and fruity Vermouth.

Your most memorable cocktail and food experience?

Partaking in a large, international competition, earlier in the year, it was an all-day event that tested all areas of my ability; from a speed round, to a blind taste test.

Why you think Peller Icewine works as a cocktail ingredient?

The concentration of the flavour, which can be attributed to it's unique production style, means that icewine can be used to sub different elements in riffs. Whereas ordinarily I would just use wine products to replace Vermouth, icewine can be subbed in for the sweet element in drinks (so something like an Old Fashioned) or even as the main spirit, as it has such a big presence, creating a lower abv drink.

 

 

Owain Williams, Filter + Fox, Liverpool

Cocktail: Leapster spritz

Inspiration behind your drink?

Taking inspiration from both the amazing produce of the Niagara region and the history of bold individuals hurling themselves over the falls in wine barrels! Here I'm showcasing Peller Cabernet Franc Icewine and contrasting its flavour profile with a bold grape vinegar from a producer just twenty minutes up the road from the Peller winery in Niagara. Using a soda to spritz the drink keeps the alcohol level exceptionally low, and this helps to emphasise the sweet fruit characteristics of the icewine.

Filter+Fox_OWilliamsMethod

  • 35ml Peller Cabernet Franc Icewine

  • 10ml minus8 concord vinegar

  • Lemon Balm

  • Black Pepper Soda

In a wine glass build all ingredients over ice and spritz with soda, garnish with a lemon zest.

How did you get into bar tending?

Beginning with a part time job at the young age of sixteen, I was completely won over by the creative and sociable nature of the drinks industry. Since then I have worked in most aspects of food and drink and finally opened my first bar in 2015.

The best part of the job?

The best part of my current job is meeting new people from different parts of the world that have such a rich and varied experience of food and drink. Enjoying aspects of their culture and tasting products from their region is a constant education and that is amazing.

Your cocktail of choice?

Spritz. Enjoying the Dolce Vita with lower abv cocktails in the sunshine is the way to go!

Your most memorable cocktail and food experience?

On a wine trip in 2016 I was lucky enough to visit the La Giuva winery in Verona, Italy. Sitting ontop of a hill overlooking the vineyards, sipping an ice-cold dessert wine while eating aged Parmiggiano Reggiano was an experience of a lifetime. Visiting the places where products originate from gives such a deeper connection and understanding of a product and I hope to get the chance to visit the Peller Estate soon!

Why you think Peller Icewine works as a cocktail ingredient?

Peller Icewine is a great ingredient for bartenders to use as it has a fantastic natural sweetness, which means you do not need to artificially sweeten your drinks. It also has a real intensity of flavour that holds beautifully through a mixed drink. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it delivers a beautifully smooth mouthfeel to a drink, keeping all other flavours in the mouth a little longer and this works fantastically in cocktails.

 

Lynsey Cameron, Cafe Gandolfi, Glasgow

Cocktail: Celtic Cuvee

Method

Add 4 raspberries to 25ml Peller Vidal Blanc Icewine, 25ml homemade pine-infused cranberry juice and shake with ice. Fine strain and top with Peller Ice Cuvee. Garnish with pine needle.

Cafe Gandolfi and Bar Gandolfi_LCameron+MGateInspiration behind your drink?

I wanted to keep the serve simple with a focus on provenance and fresh summer flavours. I wanted to create a drink which would be easy to replicate and suitable for large groups as a nod to the many events held at Peller Estates.  I looked into indigenous fruits for both Ontario and the west of Scotland and came across: raspberries (which balance the sweetness of the Vidal Blanc) and pine (which would create a cool minerality). Cranberries of course are a Canadian staple and would create a tartness and a fantastic pop of colour.

How did you get into bar tending?

I guess like every bartender I took my first shift behind a local bar pulling pints to help out a friend and never looked back. I moved to Glasgow after that working in a huge Irish bar and then found myself in charge of a bar with 120 gins and a bar team with a penchant for classic cocktails. I guess that’s where the bar tending chapter really began.

The best part of the job?

The creative aspect is definitely the best part of the job for me, the social side of bar tending goes without saying. Having the chance to start out with an idea and some interesting products and create a drink that you can mix for someone right in front of them. There is definitely a comradery between bartenders and an almost childish energy in seeing something that doesn’t exist as a liquid yet and trying to making that happen together.

Lynsey Cameron, Cafe Gandolfi

Your cocktail of choice?

Definitely a Negroni, but I cannot resist an Espresso Martini.

Your most memorable cocktail and food experience?

My most recent outstanding cocktail experience would have to be Bryant and Mack in Edinburgh, a Private Detective style prohibition bar, with brilliantly relaxed service and meticulously creative drinks. I love going out to eat and it would be difficult to choose just one food experience, I’m always overwhelmed by choice and flavours.

Why you think Peller Icewine works as a cocktail ingredient?

Having such a complex and well-developed agricultural product like Peller Icewine as the sweet element of a cocktail is interesting and unique and makes for a very considered cocktail. The other ingredients must compliment the complexity of the Icewine’s flavour and sweetness on the palate as the sweet element, which often is a necessity rather the main feature in the balance of a cocktail.