Six leading Australian bartenders head to Scotland for special Balvenie Stories bar tour

A popular Scottish single malt whisky brand has teamed up with six top Australian bartenders for a series of innovative takeovers at leading UK bars.

Published 11th Jan 2020
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The Balvenie Stories UK Tour will see these leading bartenders descend on the UK to share their cocktail creations and stories with consumers at top bars including Lyaness and The Artesian in London, and The Kelvingrove Café in Glasgow.

Each drink showcased will be made using the brand’s latest release, The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 year old, and are inspired by stories shared with the bartenders by the whisky’s creator, Kelsey McKechnie, Balvenie’s 27-year old Apprentice Malt Master.

Kayla Reid of Nick and Norah’s in Melbourne. Picture: Balvenie

The guest bartenders include Alicia Clarke of Jangling Jack’s in Sydney; Jessica Arnott of Foxtrot
Unicorn in Perth; Nicola Dean of Maybe Mae in Adelaide; Kayla Reid of Nick and Norah’s in
Melbourne; Chelsea Catherine of The Black Pearl in Melbourne; and, Alissa Gabriel of Mjolner in

The UK Tour follows on from a successful campaign in Australia led by Australia and New Zealand
brand ambassador, Ross Blainey, who said that the popular whisky brand believes sharing stories is a great way of connecting and getting to know people, he said: "With these three events we wanted to showcase the amazing talent and character in these six bartenders to share how amazing the drinks, hospitality and stories from Australia really are.

"Being able to share a drink with people across the UK means we can watch a whole new story being written in front of us all!”

UK brand ambassador for The Balvenie, Alwynne Gwilt, said: “I’m thrilled to be welcoming such an
incredible cohort of bartenders onto UK shores to share stories and these special drinks with UK

Balvenie Stories

Alissa Gabriel of Mjolner in Sydney. Picture: Balvenie

"Our new whisky series, The Balvenie Stories, is all about connecting through storytelling
and I’ve no doubt this latest event series at these leading bars will give us some great tales to tell as
the year goes on.”

The first stop on the tour is Lyaness on Sunday, 12th January from 6pm for its famous Sunday

Each of the Australian bartenders has teamed up with a member of the Lyaness team to
adapt their cocktail creations to include one of the seven ingredients featured in the bar’s current
menu, so guests will have the chance to try one-off drinks created especially for the night.

Will Meredith, head bartender at Lyaness, said: “We love collaborating with bartenders from around
the world, and Australia is close to our hearts having done a massive bar tour there ourselves in
2018. We are very excited to be welcoming The Balvenie and these six leading Australian bartenders
who have collaborated with our team to come up with truly unique and delicious concoctions.”

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On Monday, 13th January from 7pm, the group will descend upon The Artesian to showcase
their original cocktails to guests, while Blainey and Gwilt will be on hand to share stories from the
distillery and some special drams.

Anna Sebastian, manager of The Artesian, says: “Connecting with bartenders from around the world
is something we love to do at The Artesian and we can’t wait to welcome this group of bartenders to
share their stories and The Balvenie cocktail creations with us. The hospitality world is a very close
knit community and every time we can weave a new connection with another member it brings us a
huge amount of pride and excitement.”

Finally, on Wednesday, 15th January from 7pm the group will head to Kelvingrove Café in
Glasgow to team up with the all-female led team for one last takeover night. They will be joined by Glasgow-based McKechnie who will be on hand to share her experiences of creating The Sweet
Toast of American Oak 12-year old whisky and David Stewart, MBE, the Balvenie Malt Master of over
57 years.

Kirstie Addis, general manager of The Kelvingrove Café said: “We’re proud of our Scottish hospitality
industry, and there’s no denying that the Scots love to tell a tale or two over a great drink.

"This is an excellent opportunity to welcome a group of leading bartenders to share in that Glasgow spirit with our  guests!”

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A portion of the sales from the nights will go towards helping tackle the devastating fires in Australia.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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