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Martini Face-off Competition | Tayport Distillery

Martini Face-off Competition

 A week has gone, the leaves have changed and we are reminiscing on last week! On Wednesday 7th October, Mary and Sam Milne went live on Facebook and Instagram to perform a virtual cocktail competition. This year was a little bit different from normal, with only ourselves and Sam able to communicate the cocktails, their inspirations, taste and presentation. Usually, bartenders would put on a whole display with a story explaining the inspiration behind the cocktail, judges meticulously watching how they prepare and serve their drink and normally A LOT of tasting goes on! Lets just says ours was a little bit more dialled down than usual haha! However, something we loved was providing a creative space for some of the best bartenders in Dundee and Aberdeen to showcase their talents. 


There were a total of 12 entries, six from each city, which made for tight competition. So we decided to go head to head, Aberdeen vs Dundee! This was a lot of fun which led to over 750+ being cast over the 6 days, a brilliant turn out for our first virtual cocktail competition. The six cocktails selected would be put forward into the final, with Dundee reigning champion this time around. Now, the fun part begins! Preparing the cocktails! In the days ahead, Mary prepared tinctures, syrups and garnishes ready for the competition. Learned about sous vide, which she used our waxing bain-marie to slowly heat and macerate crushed cardamom pods for over 4 hours. This part was a lot of fun, all leading up to the main event - the Live Martini Face-off Competition. Now, Mary definitely does not profess to being the slickest of presenters, however - we loved hearing from everyone that joined us, waving and winding up Sam behind the camera! It was great to see the full bartender community joining in with us as Sam whizzed through the cocktails giving a great explanation of ingredients, what is an official martini and how the layers of ingredients can affect your overall experience.


Sam and Mary had previously sampled the cocktails and had a good idea in mind of who might win. However, during the live all things changed. We drawn to a Tayport native (unknown to us at the time), Joanne McCormick who works at the Kilted Kangaroo in Dundee. Joanne’s cocktail really played to the strengths of Tayport Distillery’s Malt Barley Vodka. Our vodka is made entirely in-house, we mash, ferment, distill and charcoal filter before bottling, labelling and waxing ourselves too. It has a distinctively unique taste that is caramel and vanilla-like. Hints of cacao linger in the mouth, and we needed a cocktail 

to show that off! Now, we have it!

So, we won’t keep you waiting any longer - read the full recipe below to recreate at home!


The Earl Tay Martini

50mls Malt Barley Vodka
12.5mls Giffard Creme de Cacao
12.5mls Earl Grey Demerara Syrup
2 Dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Orange Peel for Garnish


  1. You will need to make the Earl Grey Demerara Syrup first to allow it to cool. Pour 200mls of water and bring to the boil, add 200g of sugar and stir until dissolved. Once dissolves add 25g of Earl Grey tealeaves, and soak for 15mins until you can smell the strong aroma of the Earl Grey. Fine strain the syrup to remove the tea leaves. Allow to cool completely before making the cocktail. 
  2. In a tall jug or cocktail shaker, fill half way with ice, add all the ingredients and stir down for 15 seconds until the liquid is fully chilled and slightly diluted. 
  3. Take your orange and peel around the edge, removing any pith from the inside (pith adds bitterness). As you pour your drink into a coupette glass, gently realise the essence of the orange by squeezing the peel towards the glass.
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