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Leeds Bartender in Global Cocktail Competition!

Clare Morrow started a career in hospitality at a young age working as a waitress from aged 15, but a move to Leeds for university is what really sparked her bartending career.

She began working in cocktail bars around the city and has worked in some of Leeds most loved institutions- including Smokestack, Mojo and The Domino Club over the last 10 years. Currently general manager of Vice and Virtue and Dough in the City Clare remains committed to raising the profile of Northern bartending and our food and drink scene nationally and globally.

She has competed in national cocktail competitions for years- placing in several national finals and is currently involved in one of the biggest global competitions, Bacardi Legacy, where bartenders are tasked with creating a new classic cocktail. After competing in a heat in Manchester Clare’s drink and presentation won her the wild card spot in the UK’s top 4 most promising- an incredible achievement particularly for a bartender outside London.

Her drink is called ‘Sinergia’ and is centred around the idea of synergy. The impact of the ingredients is more than the sum of its parts but it also created with moments of synergy in mind, specifically when people come together to make a toast. It is created for moments of celebration, joy and togetherness but works equally well alone or with food.

There is also a very personal element to this drink. Bacardi encourage competitors to think about what they would like their legacy to be, and consider their own heritage. The inspiration for Clare’s drink came from learning to really treasure these moments after losing her brother 3 years ago to suicide after years of mental health struggles. She says, ‘As bartenders we love to feel that we are great storytellers, but often we shy away from the more difficult stories. After losing my brother it felt important to be able to share that part of my story too. I found that after some of those more difficult conversations we would come together and make a toast, and those moments have stuck with me as feeling very powerful’. In an industry where it is increasingly hard to ignore the impact of mental health and addiction issues (and rightly so) a drink with a story that encourages openness and celebrates closeness feels particularly relevant.

The next stage of the competition sees Clare promoting her drink around the world. She has just returned from a trip to Miami and Puerto Rico to the home of Bacardi, managing to fit in a visit to Philadelphia to share her drink and delivering a training session and bar takeover in West Palm, Florida. Closer to home keep an eye out for samples in Latitude Wine and Liquor Merchant, plus the drink will feature at Cocktails in the City and is available in bars all across Leeds and but where better to try it than made by Clare herself at Vice & Virtue.

In March Clare will present her sales and marketing campaign and drink once more in London, before a large reunion dinner which will see one of the 4 Most Promising selected as UK champion to compete against the rest of the world in Amsterdam!

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