Q90 challenge crowns a cocktail winner for the Queen’s birthday

A new British cocktail was crowned fit for the Queen in a competition to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday, set by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Seven “Q90” cocktails created by some of the country’s top mixologists were chosen to go before an expert panel of judges in the final held at the Trading House in London on Wednesday. 

The winner, Celebration of Britain by Sovereign Beverage Company featuring Langley’s and Pickering’s gin, will now go down in recipe book history as the celebratory drink for The Queen’s 90th birthday.

The judges were so impressed with the standard of cocktails on the night they also chose two runners up Sipsmith’s MarQueeni and Greenall’s Royal Afternoon Tea.

English sparkling wine and British gin makers were invited to enter the Q90 challenge as part of the celebrations to mark the Defra led, 2016 Year of Great British Food.

Gin and sparkling wine sales continue to be the jewel in the crown category in value and volume sales in the UK. Sparklling wine broke £1 billion in sales for the first time earlier this year and gin is set to do the same in the next few months. 

The latest figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Market Report - released this week - show that gin sold in our shops and bars in the 12 months to the end of March reached £976 million.

Up +21% in value sales in the on trade from this time last year and up +10% in the off trade.

In the last four years UK gin sales have increased 55%, or £346m.

Sparkling wine sales tell a similar story with fizz sold in our bars and shops reaching over £1 billion in the last 12 months to the end of March. 

Value sales are up +37% in the on trade from this time last year and up +19% in the off trade.

In the last four years sales of sparkling wine in the UK have increased 75%, or £497m.

All Q90 cocktails were asked to emphasise great British flavours and ingredients and celebrate the summer season. The winning tipple will be recreated in homes across the UK when people raise a toast to the Queen on Saturday 11 June – her official birthday weekend and also World Gin Day.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“We are delighted to be celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday with the Q90 cocktail challenge. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of our British gins and English sparkling wines. We hope that everyone involved – and many others besides – use our finalists’ Q90 cocktails to toast Her Majesty on her landmark birthday this Saturday.”

Royal Commentator and head judge Robert Jobson said:

It was a pleasure being a judge in such a great competition. The standard was exceptionally high. The Celebration of Britain deserved to win. I loved the taste but also the theme of racing colours. I am sure anyone who mixes the winning and the other cocktails this weekend will enjoy raising a glass in honour of Her Majesty. I know I did."

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

“There has never been a better time for our gin and wine industries as the latest figures from the WSTA show. From the gin innovators pioneering new techniques to the success of our English sparkling wine producers making a product that rivals champagne – these drinks are proving popular in the UK and abroad.

“I want to continue to unleash the creative spirit of our entrepreneurs by giving them the freedom, the technology, the research and the people to think big, take risks and build profitable businesses.”

The Q90 challenge is part of the celebrations to mark 2016 as the Year of Great British Food - a Defra led campaign to celebrate the best of our food and drink and build Britain’s reputation as a great food nation.

To find out how to make all the Q90 finalists’ cocktails go to @wstauk on Twitter. 

Twitter @wstauk

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