icewine comp

There are always a couple of sore heads on Tuesday morning at Imbibe Live, as old friends and new return to Olympia for another day of tasting, learning and networking  – many of them a little quieter than on the first day of the show.

One place it won’t be quiet on the morning of 4 July is The Cocktail Lounge because without skipping a beat, things are kicking off with one of the most exciting competitions of the show. 

Ice Wine Baby in association with Peller Family Estates – held at 11.30am on Day 2 – is the result of months of preparation, as five finalists will go head to head in the hope of winning the top spot, and a trip to the Niagara Peninsula, Canada.

The challenge was to create a fantastic cocktail recipe using a minimum of 25ml of any of Peller Estates’ Icewines as the base for the drink. Entries were tried and tested at distributor Enotria&Coe’s HQ, before being whittled down to a shortlist of five.

Hamza Najdaoui of Kai, Mayfair; Lynsey Cameron of Café/Bar Gandolfi, Glasgow; Owain Williams of Filter + Fox, Liverpool; Thomas Ryan of Doctor Ink’s Curiosities, Exeter and Miran Chauhan of The Bon Vivant, Edinburgh will present their drinks to the judges – and the audience – to see who will walk away with the highest honour, and it looks like they’ll be shaking up some seriously tasty treats.

‘The concentration of flavour, which can be attributed to its unique production style, means that ice wine can be used to sub different elements in riffs,’ said Ryan, when asked what made Peller Icewine a great cocktail ingredient.

‘Whereas ordinarily I would just use wine products to replace vermouth, ice wine 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,’ added Ryan, whose cocktail, 1.5 Degree Shim, leans on the growing trend for low abv cocktails – as do several other drinks in the line-up.

To top that off, Peller Family Estates will be providing samples of three of its delicious ice wines: Vidal, Riesling and Cabernet Franc. All in all, it certainly doesn’t sound like a bad way to blow away the cobwebs and set up for another exciting day. 

Ice wine baby, day 2, 11.30am, the cocktail lounge