Yam custard? Beetroot Red Snappers? Mr Saturday Who? Meet James Irvine, our Creative Director of Gin Drinks.
James Irvine, previously of the mighty Swillhouse group, recently joined our Yarra Valley-based gin distillery as our first ever Creative Director of Gin Drinks. He’d just returned from Mexico City where he was named Runner Up at the 10th annual Bacardi Legacy Competition.
“It seems great things happen to me when I go overseas to a gathering of top bartenders,” Irvine said.
“The first time I went to Tales of the Cocktail in 2014, I had a pretty hectic week and returned home with my dream job at Swillhouse. Then in 2016 I met Stu Gregor for the first time over a few Miller Hi-Life’s, we then collaborated on a gin in 2017 and now look where I have landed?!”
It’s fair to say James’ resume is bloody impressive. Of his eight years in the bartending trade, the most recent four have been for Swillhouse – operators of Shady Pines Saloon, Baxter Inn, Frankie’s Pizza and the juggernaut that is Restaurant Hubert. James was Beverage Director across all venues, responsible for their impeccable drinks programs and staff training that combined have seen each of the bars win multiple awards and packed to the rafters every night of the week.
And then there’s the trophy cabinet… Time Out Best Bartender 2016, ALIA Bartender of the Year 2016, twice Drinks World Australian Top 25 Bartender, winner of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Australia 2016 (which saw him become part of their global Brand Ambassador Team for two years), recipient of the ‘World Class in a Glass’ category at Diageo’s World Class 2016. And then, of course, there was his spectacular performance this week in Mexico City. Yep, the man can mix!
You’ll see James popping up at most of our Aussie events and at the distillery from time to time, in between time spent setting up our first official drinks lab in Sydney – a space dedicated to cocktail experimentation and innovation. Exciting things to come folks…