Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Red Stripe remixes flavour with Johnnie Walker

Published:Thursday | July 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson/Gleaner Writer

The secret to any epic drink mix lies not only within its flavour but in understanding the spirit's body and ambrosial aromas too.

Recently, Diageo spirits guru and ambassador for the Johnnie Walker brand, Arturo Savage, conducted a series of mentorship sessions with a few local 'top-shelf' bartenders. Experienced mixologists from leading restaurant bars in attendance from Kingston were guided through the gastronomic effects with different techniques and recipes provided by Savage, via a live demo display.

"Our aim at Red Stripe is to ensure our brand ambassadors truly represent what we stand for and understand not only how to create great drinks with our products, but also know the story behind our brands," said Andrew O'Meally, assistant brand manager of Diageo Portfolio.

Additionally, he noted that it is imperative that bartenders are professionally trained as it gives them the opportunity to hone their craft, thereby creating a 'palatable' pathway, so to speak, for their growth and development. "It's important to train and invest in our skill pool, especially as we continue to provide rich experiences for consumers who enjoy our brands," added O'Meally.

The final spirit session included 'shake, stir, straight up, on the rocks and blend' experts from Macau Gaming Lounge and Bar and JoJo's Jerk Pit and More, among others. Gin and tonic mixes were the main feature of the occasion as they were freshly prepared by the participants, after Savage demonstrated his special knack for flavours. "The bartenders brilliantly showed off their skills. However, I think the barrier we have to overcome for whisky is noting that neat with ice is not the only way you can drink it. For me, it's very important that we all get creative with spirits and discover fun ways to experience aroma and flavours," Savage shared.

Exposed to a variety of recipes and suggestions for combining the Johnnie Walker brand with fresh and basic, key ingredients, Savage reminded bartenders that the main objective when mixing is to keep it simple. "Ingredients that people can replicate at home is highly recommended because that's the life that adds to the on trade of this industry," said Savage.

The spirits enthusiast believes the industry in Jamaica should place strong focus on continuity when it comes to training bartenders, so they can keep abreast of trends and new techniques. The mentorship session aims to educate bartenders about the Diageo brands and the recommended mixing process for each. The upcoming Bar Academy hosted by Red Stripe is slated to begin this month, so look out for more in store as Red Stripe remixes flavour with Johnnie Walker.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com