Hi, or Hej since I moved to Sweden. I am Mark Jennings and I know why some people hate whisky. I was one of them.
Since my ‘spiritual’ awakening I’ve mixed cocktails live on air for Monocle, explained cocktails trends on Bloomberg TV, judged for major spirits awards, lead tasting events in Europe and North America, written for the leading drinks publications, and had a cocktail named after me. It’s been some ride, I can tell you.
My unexpected career in spirits started when I worked in advertising. I got to see the craft and passion and meet the incredible people, hundreds of them, who make, mature, market and consume fine spirits – I fell in love, jacked in the advertising and started putting on events and making content. Well, I did once I finally started to enjoy whisky.
It was Alan Winchester, the now retired Master Distiller of The Glenlivet, who explained that it wasn’t a sin to add water to whisky, and helped unravel years of excess ritual I’d assumed while growing up in Scotland. You know, the rules, the snootiness, the unchanging narrative that whisky had hung it’s hat on for so long.
So I guess you could say what started as a hobby took over my life. And I’ve not been passive. Along the way helping The Glenlivet create the world’s fastest selling whisky, creating the world’s first cocktail subscription business, described by drinks legend Dick Bradsell as “the best idea I’ve heard in years”, and helped to develop new brands (some of whom are still in business).
I’m still learning but I know a lot more about booze now – from how brands work, to what bartenders love and hate, and what motivates consumers. I know how weird and scary a bad label or menu can be, you how wonderful, mysterious, delightful and life affirming a spirit story can be, with just a little knowledge. It’s my job to change your mind.
“Leading voice in the world of cocktails” – Andy Wallace, then Prestige Manager, William Grant & Sons (Owner of Glenfiddich, Hendricks, Monkey Shoulder)