The Glenfiddich Grande Range: Ross Blainey on taking inspiration from celebration

Ross Blainey, Felicity Eshman from Shady Pines & Grace Rawlins from Memphis Slims

By Ross Blainey, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador

Photos by Mario Francisco, Styling by Jamie Azzopardi

Bartenders have an amazing and unique ability to make strangers smile. But even more than that, they have the ability to spot a moment – an ‘occasion’ – and turn it into something more exciting and special. It’s something every one of you bartenders that reads this should take a moment to be proud of. When you realise the impact you can have on a stranger’s life on any given day, you can start to build and grow.

Watching the great bartenders of the world asses a situation and use their chat and drink selection to mark a moment for a guest is something to behold. They can elevate an occasion and heighten their guests’ experience, forging a moment that they might never forget.

Taking inspiration from an occasion is an opportunity to create something special. You might grab the “baller” cocktail list, show them the blanc de blanc magnums or drop a special single malt in front of them. It’s those moments that inspired us to make the Glenfiddich Grande Range. You’ve got that power and it makes bartenders a key part of our culture. So, wield that power to celebrate an occasion and watch the smiles (and tips) roll in.

“Celebrate yourself! Recognising how well you’re doing makes you radiate that ‘little extra’, setting off positive energy that our customers love to see!” – Grace Rawlins, Memphis Slims House of Blues

As a bartender you’ll get a great feeling from making a night really special for your guests. But let’s not forget about you. You work hard and spend your days and nights making other people happy. Remember to do the same for yourself. Everyone can find something to celebrate, so realise your moment, grab it and do what you do for other people. It doesn’t have to be a huge occasion but something that means something to you. Take it and treat yo’self! Go to that restaurant you’ve been saying you’ll go to for months, get that bangin’ Beaujolais at Hubert, do that afternoon drinking frozen margs at Opera Bar or maybe put a glass of Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 year old in front of as you set up for a night at Hats n Tatts (yes its open again!). Whatever you do just make sure you do for yourself what you spend so much time and energy doing for others. Find something for yourself and use those experiential powers on yourself. You deserve it.

Felicity Eshman, Shady Pines

I love making memorable moments for others too. It’s part of my job but it’s part of my personality. I try and nudge myself to do it for me too and I think it’s important. Hold onto special moments, make as much of them as you can. Our new releases to the Glenfiddich Grande Range were inspired by these moments of celebration. Our malt master Brian Kinsman took an idea of celebrating a moment and built our insanely tasty Grand Cru 23 year old finished in very unique French cuvee wine barrels. Something to pop the cork, bring the energy to the room, smell that lemon and brioche, splash the glasses with some friends and grab that moment.

The new Grand Couronne 26 takes it up a notch further with a 2-year finish in Cognac casks. It’s rich and bold with this amazing elegance. It takes a different moment to the next level – that moment at the end of a special dinner where you just need to crown the night with something that blows everyone away. And believe me it does exactly that! These two new drams join our old favourite the 21 Gran Reserva which has been sliding into moments for people for over 20 years now! The first rum finish single malt and it’s just as special as it was 21 years ago when it was released. Drams that are there to heighten the experience, embrace a celebratory moment or crown the occasion. To be honest, I’ll still be happy grabbing a dram of 12 if I’m celebrating!

Grace Rawlins, Memphis Slims

With our whisky we are really doing what you do every day in the bar. You take that inspiration from the moment and you make the best thing you can that makes their day memorable. We’ve done the same. I’ll go out on a limb, even in print and say that the Grand Cru is the best Glenfiddich I’ve had. There I said it.

For the cover shot this issue I really wanted to make it a celebration in itself. We invited Grace and Flick to celebrate their achievements at Dean & Nancys on 22 where we really went all out on making it special. Our shoot was styled by celebrity fashion stylist Jamie Azzopardi and shot by Mario Francisco. We got the full rockstar treatment from the amazing bar team with the full Grande Range, a little Champagne, caviar and general decadence! Tough life eh!

And I’ll leave you with this thought: Be proud of the fact that you make peoples’ days all the time. You make their occasions something they won’t forget. Do the same for yourself, find something to celebrate and go do it! And if you fancy doing it with a dram made just for those occasions… well, you know what my suggestion is.


Win a custom pair of the sold out Glenfiddich GCXXIII worth $2,300

You might has seen these epic kicks floating around on social media and wondered how to get your hands on a pair. Well now you have a change thanks to Ross Blainey and the crew at Glenfiddich, you have the chance to own a pair of limited edition Glenfiddich sneakers worth $2300.

How to enter:

  • Using any Glenfiddich to create a serve or moment to make the most of an occasion
  • The serve should be something you would be happy serving in your bar
  • Go as big as you want – make the occasion memorable for someone who might order it
  • Tag us on Instagram in your final serve with a video or photo
    Tag: @glenfiddichwhiskyau & @thewhiskyspecialist
This story featured in our May issue of Bartender magazine with this image on the cover.