I’ll Take a Little Gin With That – A Look Inside the Beefeater 24 Regional Cocktail Competition

My martini hunting partner in crime, Dave Hennessy and I recently had the pleasure of joining some friends at the 2013 Beefeater 24 National Cocktail Competition Northeast Regional Finals at J. Christians Restaurant in Wallingford.  You know, it excites me to see a diverse group of people come together to appreciate well-made cocktails and the skill it takes to make them.

Ensconced on the mezzanine of the beautiful J. Christians Restaurant, our lucky judges were presented with one tasty cocktail after another.

Competition Judges

Stacy Murray – Advertising and Print Services – The Beverage Journal CT & RI, Jackie Blau, On-Premise Brand Manager – Pernod Ricard USA (the importer) and Frank Martucci – USBG Vice President, judged the cocktails on originality/creativity, taste, aroma and  presentation/garnish with contestants garnering points in each category.  Jonathan Pogash – USBG Northeast Regional Vice President served as the technical judge and held everyone’s feet to the fire against IBG technical standards and the seven minute time limit.

Beefeater Cocktails

Schuyler Hunton – MA, Vito Lantz- RI, Carl Summa – CT, Rob Hirst – PA, Lindsay Matteson – NY and Mike Treffehn – PA, had all previously wowed the local judges in a blind competition to win their respective state competitions and then advanced to the regionals.  This is serious stuff so the competition was judged on International Bartenders Guild (IBA)/USBG standard technical guidelines; all six contestants had to bring their A-game. 

Cocktail Contestants

Want a look inside the technical side of making a cocktail?  Check out this actual training video by the USBG.  I bet you’ll pay a little more attention and appreciate the professionalism the next time you order a cocktail.

Beefeater and Beefeater 24 are bottled & distributed in the United Kingdom, by the James Burrough Company. Beefeater remained under the Burrough’s family control until 1987 and is now owned and imported by Pernod Ricard.  If you ever wondered (like I did) where the name ‘Beefeater’ originates, it refers to the Yeoman Warders, who are the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London.  Who knew?

Beefeater bottles

Being a newbie Gin drinker, I found Beefeater 24 to be very smooth, almost silky on the tongue, with hints of grapefruit and tea which makes for a refreshingly distinct flavor.  It can easily hold up in martinis, Gin & Tonics, and any other libation you prefer.  London Dry Gin, on the other hand, is characterized by a juniper flavor enhanced with a variety of other flavors as determined by master distillers.  Gin recipes are highly guarded secrets and original recipes which were created back in the 1800’s are still used today.  Being fickle, yet creative, humans have distilled many varieties of the original both across the pond and here in the USA.

After extensive tasting, the judges retired to deliberate and pick a winner.  Each Regional winner receives a trip to the USBG Beefeater 24 National Cocktail Competition Extravaganza in Chicago where a single winner will be selected to represent the United States at the IBA World Cocktail Championship in Prague. August 16-22, 2013.  This competition stuff is big!

Now for the winners!  In second place is Rhode Island’s own Vito Lantz and his “Ashes of San Burrough” cocktail, a smoky, complex creation which paid tribute to Beefeater’s creator, James Burrough.  And winning the whole shebang, the big kahuna, representing New York… Lindsay Matteson and her “London Iris” cocktail!

Lindsay Matteson wins competition

The London Iris blesses the Beefeater 24 with a complementary profile of simple flavors.  When asked about her inspiration for the winning cocktail Lindsay replied, “I like really simple cocktails that highlight their ingredients. I feel that the ‘London Iris’ is an accessible cocktail that shows Beefeater 24 Gin to its fullest. I wanted to bring out the aspects of Beefeater 24 that make it distinct from other gins, namely the grapefruit and teas.  This isn’t a gin cocktail; this is a Beefeater 24 cocktail.”

We’d have to agree with you on that one, Lindsay.  It really is a Beefeater 24 cocktail.  You can find the recipe for the London Iris here on our Martini Recipe page.

For more on Lindsay and the Beefeater 24 competition check out our article in the Beverage Journal – CT/RI at www.thebeveragejournal.com/beefeater-24/ .

Congrats on your regional win and good luck at the Cocktail Extravaganza in Chicago.


USBG group

L-R:  Jonathan Pogash-USBG NE Regional VP, Frank Martucci – USBG VP, Lindsay Matteson – 2013 Beefeater 24 NE Regional winner, Jackie Blau-Pernod Riccard USA, Tammy Torres and Dave Hennessy – MartiniHunter.com Founders


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