The week in pictures
Don’t know if anyone noticed, but there was this big party in Los Angeles on Monday. Something about a guy called Oscar?
ONLY KIDDING! It was the 91st Academy Awards this week, and the great and good of Hollywood came out in force to attend the awards ceremony.
Congratulations go to Peep Show legend Olivia Colman, who won Best Actress for her performance as the formidably silly Queen Anne in The Favourite, and Rami Malek, who picked up the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Our spies on the ground spotted Rami Malek celebrating with a magnum of Rare Champagne 1998 (no longer called Piper-Heidsieck) after his Oscars win.
Two whiskies, both alike in dignity. In UK retail we lay our scene….
St Patrick’s Day is around the corner, and Irish whiskey brands are racing to secure listings in the UK off-trade. On Thursday, we broke the news that MMA fighter and PR director’s dream Conor McGregor (pictured) is bringing his Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey to the UK after selling out during its initial launch in Ireland and the US last year. It has gained a listing in ASDA stores, and is also available online.
Now, Slane Irish Whiskey is taking its signature Triple Casked blend across the Irish Sea. The spirit, which picked up a gold in The Spirits Business’ whiskey masters last year, will be available in 306 Waitrose stores and 300 Asda outlets, as well as Ocado, just in time for 17 March.
Speaking of Irish whiskey, Jameson has found an unlikely celebrity ally in musician Anderson .Paak.
Paak stars in a video for the Pernod Ricard-owned distillery’s new campaign, which revolves around saving local bars and uses the hashtag #LoveThyBar.
“This cause with Jameson is one I can get behind because it’s part of my story,” said .Paak in a release.
“It feels like nearly all the bars that we came up in within our hometown are done, they’re just not there anymore. Music will suffer if we don’t value the local spots, the neighbourhood bars, where you can roll up and play to just the staff if that’s the vibe. When you are trying to figure out who you are, as an artist or a person, you need to go bounce stuff off real people, new people, strange people and discover yourself through being around others. Get your crew together, go out and #LoveThyBar
In other celebrity drinks news, Sarah Jessica Parker has launched her very own wine range.
The range, which includes (yep, you guessed it) a Sauvignon Blanc and a rosé, was created alongside New Zealand wine company Invivo, whose founders, Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron, also work closely with Graham Norton on his wine label.
“I’m a true wine lover and love including wine in family dinners and occasions with friends,” Parker said, who also claimed she will be involved in “every stage of the creation process.”
Stalwarts of the hospitality industry gathered at the Savoy in London on Monday for the Restaurant Association Gala Dinner.
This year, the Association launched its own award. The Restaurant Association Award for Services to Hospitality, designed and sponsored by Fabergé, was given to the Roux family. Albert Roux OBE, Maria Roux, Michel Roux Jr, Gisele Roux and Emily Roux were all in attendance.
The former MasterChef host reimbursed staff who were paid less than the legal minimum wage at his Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche in 2016, after it was revealed that some kitchen staff, who were working 68 hours per week, were earning as little £375 before tax.
To London’s China Exchange, where week in pics regular Flint Wines held its annual portfolio tasting on Wednesday.
There were 120 wines on pour in total. The day started with a blind tasting seminar hosted by UK Sommelier of the Year 2016 Terry Kandylis alongside Stefan Neumann MS, while Alex Chaudière from Southern Rhône’s Château Pesquié and Alex Moreau from Burgundian Domaine Bernard Moreau presented masterclasses on the issues they’re dealing with in their regions right now.
Later that day, the second edition of Flint Top Young Sommelier Competition took place, with a food and wine pairing challenge judged by a team of experts (we presume American critic Tim Hanni MW was too busy…).
Congrats goes to Tom Newton from The Fat Duck, who will now have the chance to blend his own wine at Chateau Pesquié and that will be then sold by Flint in the UK later this year.
Also in competitive service news, this stylish bunch are battling it out to win Patrón Tequila’s 2019 Margarita of the Year competition. challenging eight bartenders from eight cities worldwide to create their own unique twist on the Mexican mix.
The public will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite recipe once a day until the end of April, just in time for Cinco de Mayo.
The bartenders in the running are:
1. Jacyara de Oliveira (Chicago, Illinois) has made the Paseo Margarita
Created with coconut and basil
2. Samuel Jimenez (Oakland, California), has made the Pasifika Margarita
Created with coconut and pineapple
3. Natalie Jacob (New York, USA) has made the Golden Hour Margarita
Created with pineapple and tumeric
4. Tyler Kitzman (Miami, Florida) has made the Flamingo Park Margarita
Created with grapefruit
5. Adrian Rosales (Guadalajara, Mexico) has made the Margarita Caliente
Created with passionfruit and chipotle
6. Cristian Bugiada (Rome, Italy) has made the Margarita Amore
Created with apple and chilli pepper
7. Jay Khan (Hong Kong) has made the Dynasty Margarita
Created with lychee and ginger
8. And Makina Labrecque (Calgary, Canada) has made the Wild Rose Margarita
Created with juniper and rose
There are a number of ways to vote for the best. To find out more, head to MargaritaOfTheYear.com
In food news, Michelin-awarded TV chef and the head chef of eponymous Birmingham resto Purnell’s, Glynn Purnell, teamed up with Famille Helfrich, the on-trade and independents arm of Les Grands Chais de France, to host its inaugural portfolio tasting at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Monday until Wednesday.
In whisky tourism, South Africa’s Distell International has invested £10.5 million in a new visitor centre and distillery for its whisky brand Bunnahabhain Distillery on Islay.
The new layout will feature a “brand home” and visitor centre, as well as a café and retail space which will be positioned along the shoreline with stunning views overlooking Bunnahabhain Bay and the Sound of Islay.
In an interview with the drinks business last year, Distell’s MD for Europe, Fraser Thornton, said he hopes to expand the group’s overall turnover by scaling up its growing UK business.
The UK, he explained, is “very small” for the company, accounting for around 2.5% of the remaining 20%.
But the company, which owns cider brand Savanna, believes there is more potential for growth in the UK than in South Africa, where Distell “already have a dominant position.”