A HALESOWEN gin expert has beaten off stiff competition to be crowned the ultimate ‘gin-ius’.

Mark Barber was awarded the title thanks to his impressive ‘gineral’ knowledge, following a nationwide search by pub restaurant Chef & Brewer in the hunt for a new cocktail to be placed on its winter menu.

As well as making his own gin at the Ginstitute in London, Mark has also completed training with Fever-Tree and Nicholls and Perks, priding himself on his knowledge of the perfect G&T mix.

Mark’s menu creation, the ‘Winter Spiced G&T’ is made with winter spice flavoured syrup, Gordon’s gin, Fever-Tree light tonic and garnished with a slice of orange to finish it off. It will be available for guests to enjoy in Chef & Brewer pubs nationwide from Wednesday, November 15.

Mark said: “I am thrilled to have been chosen as Chef & Brewer’s first ‘gin-ius’. Gin is my favourite spirit and I love pairing it with different mixers, garnishes and flavours.

“I really enjoyed designing the new cocktail for the menu and look forward to seeing it launch in Chef & Brewer pubs across the country this week. I hope that people enjoy it.”

Alongside the coveted title, Mark also received a £500 prize and a year’s supply of gin.

Ben Bednall, general manager at the Greswolde Arms, where Mark developed his cocktail, said: “We were inundated with entries, but Mark’s credentials as a gin connoisseur really made him stand out.

“We look forward to our guests sampling the ‘Winter Spiced G&T’ this week.”