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Charles Joly Wins the Auchenoshan Switch Bartender Challenge

October 28, 2011


Glasgow, Scotland – Two bartenders, an ocean apart are excited and ready to pack their bags, cross the pond, switch countries and 'jobs' for two weeks as the winners of the first ever transcontinental Auchentoshan Switch. Auchentoshan Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Scotland’s only triple-distilled single malt, is happy to announce that the deserving winners of the Auchentoshan Switch bartender swap are: Charles Joly from The Drawing Room in Chicago, U.S. and Martin Ball from Corridor Bar in Manchester, U.K. Both competed in grand finale challenges this past week in London and Las Vegas against 19 of their fellow countrymen, and in three rounds of fierce cocktail competition emerged as the winners. At the Las Vegas showdown, hosted by United States Bartender's Guild (USBG), excitement and some friendly competitive banter ran high as many of the bartenders were familiar and friendly with each other but all had their eye on the prize -- a two week trip to London in early 2012 to work for Tony Conigliaro at his famed 69 Colebrooke Row bar and Drinks Factory, one of the only bar-related drinks labs in the world.

Charles Joly


Charles Joly from The Drawing Room is the U.S. winner of the Auchentoshan Switch bartender swap.


Winner Charles Joly said, "I am so proud to represent the U.S. for the Switch to 69 Colebrooke Row. You brought the best of the best bartenders in the country together to work with a great brand like Auchentoshan, and I can't wait to discover more about molecular mixology from Tony and bring back what I've learned to the Drawing Room. It was a fantastic night!"

To enter the Auchentoshan Switch challenge, all bartenders were asked to submit a video of themselves making a lemonade and an Old Fashioned cocktail with Auchentoshan Three Wood. To see Joly's video entry, click here.

Auchentoshan is a brand treasured by whisky aficionados and bartenders alike as one of the smoothest whiskies, thanks to its triple distillation, and perfect for thoughtful sipping as well as the ideal base spirit for a cocktail. Which came in handy at the Auchentoshan Switch finale, held at House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where Auchentoshan Three Wood was the spirited star of the night. This unique and complex Auchentoshan expression has been matured in three different cask types – first in American Bourbon then to Spanish Oloroso Sherry and finally in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks. Auchentoshan pioneered the three cask maturation process.

Hannah Fisher, Auchentoshan Brand Manager who flew directly from the U.K. Switch competition to the U.S. said, “It's really quite incredible to see the interest we've had in our inaugural year of the Auchentoshan Switch - so many exceptional bartenders entered from the U.S. and U.K.! We were so impressed with the time, commitment and seriousness each bartender brought to the challenge knowing that the prize is not $100,000 but it's actually to work! It just proves to us how dedicated these hardworking bartenders are to their craft, and I'm so happy Auchentoshan can be a part of expanding their cocktail knowledge. A big congratulations to Charles and Martin from the entire Auchentoshan team. We can't wait to hear - and taste - more from them next year when they make the switch."

Judges David Clelland (International Auchentoshan Whisky Specialist), Camper English (author/Alcademics.com, winner of Tales of the Cocktail 2011 Best Cocktail Writing award) and Andrew Pollard (VP, United States Bartender's Guild Las Vegas Chapter) deliberated through three rounds of challenges: in Round One all 20 bartenders were asked to create an original Auchentoshan cocktail, something that would show off their creativity and presentation as well as the rich toffee and sherry oak flavors of Auchentoshan Three Wood; five bartenders advanced to Round Two, where they were presented with six mystery ingredients and tasked with creating an Auchentoshan Three Wood cocktail that contained at least two of those mystery ingredients; and then there were two -- Charles Joly and Clinton Terry (from PX, Alexandria, Va.)- who moved on to compete head to head in Round Three where each had to present a ‘master class’ on Auchentoshan Three Wood to the judges (and a crowd of their peers). The final decision was difficult as both made eloquent and information-packed presentations. Based on his scores and final presentation, Joly was named the U.S. winner of Auchentoshan Switch 2011.

“It was a really difficult decision to make at each round because the caliber of bartenders was so high," said judge David Clelland. "I think the number of entries we had for Auchentoshan Switch shows how truly professional these bartenders are and how far they'll go to advance their knowledge and craft. We were quite fortunate to have such a pool of talent to judge."

The Switch will take place in early 2012 when Joly will spend two weeks behind the stick at the famed London bar 69 Colebrooke Row, while Ball will spend his two weeks at a well known bar in New York City.  Home to the Drinks Factory, 69 Colebrooke Row is one of the only bar-related drinks labs in the world. There, Joly will become incorporated into the daily bar procedures as well as visiting producers and sourcing quality ingredients. In New York City, Ball will work at one of the hottest cocktail bars in Gotham’s underground scene. We’re not revealing the name of the bar just yet, but with no menus there, bartenders cook up individually prescribed concoctions according to their customer’s mood. Here the presentation of the cocktail is as dramatic as the cocktail itself. Ball will be part of both a theater of performance and a chemistry lab at the same time. And yes, there will also be some time for sightseeing as well.


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