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Jigger & twist

Hants' masters — & mistress — of mixology flame their way to glory.

Cocktails? On a Monday night? That, my friends, is how we roll at Muddy Hants towers.

So off I tottered into the eye of Hurricane Ophelia. My destination? Winchester’s Forte Kitchens where Hampshire’s masters of mixology — plus one brilliant mistress — muddled, flamed and flaunted their way to glory in front of judges: Paul Bowler, owner and founder of Winchester Distillery, Gary Whiter of The Cabinet Rooms and Hattingley Valley’s Gareth Maxwell.

Clockwise from top left: Spike vandermewe, Paul Bowler & Chris Palmer; Autumnal offerings; the winning cocktail; Carmen Darmanin mixing a G&T; more Autumnal-ess from Lainston’s Roberto Lombardo.

It was back to uni to for this Muddy Ed as I scribbled notes on all things gin from one Professor of the Palliative after another: chinchona bark, Roman cuisine and how to you use your muddler — quiet at the back Muddies.

No surprises that Hampshire ingredients featured heavily including raspberries in Spike Vandermewe’s winning cocktail (see him in action below). Chris Palmer of Hayling Island’s Langstone Hotel won the G&T competition.

And the prize? A chance to work with Winchester Distillery, makers of Hampshire’s iconic Twisted Nose gin [Read: Hampshire gin it’s a thing].

Yours truly spent the evening enjoying her second Winchester Dry Gin, sampling Forte Kitchen’s heavenly beetroot relish and smoked cheese nibbles, and failing to master the art of gin pipeting (if you ask, I’ll tell).

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hampshire & Isle of Wight