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London bar unveils “best of the best”

London bar LTD@The Social has stripped back its offer to serve only one spirit per category, which it believes represents the “best of the best”.

The results saw a mixture of big names, boutique brands and often-overlooked examples emerge victorious.

“I’m not saying it’s wrong to have 20 gins, but we’re just trying to get a balance,” said Eric Yu, managing director of The Breakfast Club, who collaborated on the project with bar consultant Dre Masso (left).

“There’s a whole plethora of choice that’s way beyond public understanding – there should be an alternative based on quality rather than marketing theatre.”

The pair drew up an expert panel and methodology in a bid to cut through the heavyweight marketing campaigns or tempting portfolio deals which can so often influence the purchasing decisions made by both bar managers and consumers.

Yu stressed the importance of this independence, claiming: “The general public is totally bemused. There’s a lack of expert information that isn’t coming from a particular company.”

The pair admitted that a desire to make the final list accessible meant that the £20 wholesale upper price automatically excluded many super-premium spirits.

However, Masso defended this decision, saying: “This is your desert island list based on price point. The next thing is to add another £20 onto each bottle price. It would be really sensible for a bar to have an entry-level and then a top-shelf option.”

LTD@The Social will be serving these spirits, together with a limited selection of classic and original cocktails, until the end of the year.

The results were as follows:

Vodka: Winner – Stolichnaya

Runners up – Luksusowa, Wyborowa

Gin: Winner – Beefeater London Dry gin

Runners up – Plymouth, Tanqueray

Rum: Winner – Havana Club 7 Year Old

Runners up – Appleton VX, El Dorado

Agave: Winner – Ocho Blanco vintage Tequila

Runners up – Tapatio, Calle 23

Brandy: Winner – Courvoisier VS Cognac

Runners up – Martell VS, Rémy Martin VS

Whiskey: Winner – Jameson Irish whiskey

Runners up – Johnnie Walker Black Label, Maker’s Mark

For full analysis and comments on the results, see October’s issue of the drinks business.

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