Martin Ball from Corridor selected to represent the UK in transatlantic bartender swap

LONDON. 25 OCTOBER 2011: Last night, Martin Ball from Corridor, Manchester, was selected from 18 of our most creative bartenders to represent the UK in The Auchentoshan Switch programme – a transatlantic mixology competition like no other. The winners of the UK and US competitions will swap countries to work in London and New York City’s most prestigious bars – the award winning 69 Colebrooke Row and Apotheke.

As Scotland’s only triple distilled Single Malt whisky, Auchentoshan is a brand that likes to do things differently and the Auchentoshan Switch programme has been no exception. Following a video only entry process and selection criteria based on service and theatre as well as the drink itself, the final showdown was a menagerie of fast paced competition rounds and masterclasses mixed with a good measure of live music, DJs and a live graffiti installation.

The final, which took place at one of east London’s most talked about warehouse spaces, Village Underground, took the form of three rounds judged by an esteemed panel:

· Tony Conigliaro – widely acknowledged as one of the UK’s pioneering drinks creators and co-owner of acclaimed bar, 69 Colebrooke Row

· Giles Looker – renowned mixologist and owner of Soulshakers Bar Consultancy

· Neil Ridley – Imbibe journalist, whisky writer and co-founder of revered whisky blog CaskStrength

In each round, the finalists demonstrated their skill and creativity live in front of the judges and consumers. The first round ‘Creativity and Presentation’ tested the bartenders’presentation skills and imagination as they worked to a set list of ingredients. Round Two ‘Working Under Pressure’ tested bartenders’ability to think on their feet with a secret bag of ingredients presented to them just minutes before their presentation. The final round, ‘Auchentoshan Presents…A Three Wood Masterclass’, saw the two outstanding finalists capture the audience’s attention as they conducted a masterclass on Three Wood’s unique complexity in their own unique style.

Martin Ball’s simple ‘Tight Corner Fizz’ cocktail took him through to the final round, where he led the crowd through a charismatic, knowledgeable and engaging masterclass.

Tony Conigliaro, judge and soon to be mentor of the US winner alongside the 69 Colebrooke Row team, commented: “Martin is clearly immensely talented; he possesses great technical ability but also a great understanding and interpretation of taste and balance of flavours. I wish him all the luck at Apotheke where I’m sure he will benefit tremendously from their guidance.”

Hannah Fisher, Auchentoshan Brand Manager, commented: “The first ever Auchentoshan Switch has attracted more bartending talent than we could have imagined. It was great to see the level of knowledge and appreciation about the brand. We wanted the competition to reflect the brand’s personality so we’re really pleased that last night showdown was something totally unique. We’re really looking forward to seeing the competition on the other side of the pond – next stop Las Vegas and the final there on 26th October.”

The Auchentoshan Switch itself will take place in early 2012, where the winners will experienceworld-leading mixology under the guidance of Apotheke and 69 Colebrooke Row. The UK winner will be mentored by David Clelland, Auchentoshan’s International Whisky Specialistin NYC.

Apotheke is the hottest cocktail bar in Gotham’s underground scene. With no menus, bar chefs cook up individually prescribed concoctions for the taste of the cocktail enthusiasts according to their mood. At Apotheke, the presentation of the cocktail is as dramatic as the cocktail itself. The winner will be simultaneously part of both a theatre performance and a chemistry lab in the mixology heart of the USA – NYC.

The US winner will work at 69 Colebrooke Row and learn first hand the world of cocktail and food science in the only bar-related drinks lab in the world – The Drinks Factory. The winner will work with a team of handpicked, leading mixologists in a lab dedicated to furthering the craft of the cocktail and fully realisingprojects as they filter into the bar. Importantly, they will also become incorporated into the daily bar procedures, as well asvisiting producers and sourcing quality ingredients.

Videos of entries can be viewed here:

UK Distributor: Cellar Trends on 01283 217703 or



As Glasgow’s closest Distillery, Auchentoshan is truly unique as it is the only distillery to use a third still in the whisky making process. It means Auchentoshan is the only Single Malt Scotch whisky to triple distil every single drop. This third distillation takes the new spirit to 81.5% ABV (not 70% which is achieved through only distilling twice) making it the highest distillate of any Scottish distillery. The benefit? This strength removes the impurities and harshness often associated with single malts and takes the new spirit to it’s optimum strength for reacting with the casks during maturation, allowing Auchentoshan to extract maximum flavours from the wood. The result? A delicate, smooth malt with each expression strongly showcasing the character of cask it was matured in.

At the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Auchentoshan 12 Year Old, Auchentoshan Classic andAuchentoshan Three Wood were all awarded a Silver Medal in the Spirits category. At the 2008 San FranciscoWorld Spirits Competition, Auchentoshan 18 Year Old also won a coveted Double Gold Medal.


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