Catching up with Millie Milliken, winner of the IWSC 2022 Spirits Communicator

Spirit news

Wed 15 Jun 2022

What’s been your favourite feature you’ve researched and written for Club O over the past year?

I think it has to be my piece on savoury gins - I am a big Martini fan and have a palate that is very sensitive to sugar and sweet things so finding out how these more savoury gins are made (and tasting them along the way) was the dream research project for me.

How has winning this accolade opened opportunities for you?

It has massively opened doors for me, no question about it. I wasn't struggling for work before I won it but in terms of industry recognition and clout among my peers, it has been so fantastic to have this accolade against my name. It's also been hugely impactful on my confidence - as someone who was relatively new to the world of freelance writing and even the industry, this was the boost I needed to propel me into 2022. 

What advice would you share with people looking to enter this award?

Even if you don't think you can win it, enter it! I was nominated rather than entering - I didn't enter because I didn't think I had a chance in hell of winning. Just shows that sometimes other people can see your worth more than yourself. Also, don't rush your application - for the judges this is a very valuable window into you as a professional and your long-term goals. Sure, they might know your work, but this is their chance to get to know you.

Can you tell us about any exciting projects you have coming up?

I've got a couple of exciting more regular projects coming up with some cool platforms and there may or may not be a couple of book ideas knocking around... There is also a larger project I've been looking to launch this year, it's just finding the time between writing, presenting and getting back into work travel too - Scotland, Barcelona, Paris, Greece, Seychelles and Jamaica have all been on the cards this year. Apart from that I'm getting stuck into my new role as head of content for the OurWhisky Foundation.

What guidance can you offer companies to help them improve the storytelling around their bottles and brands?

Be genuine - communicators and journalists in particular can smell an inauthentic brand story a mile off... Keep it simple and personable - people's attention spans are sadly pretty short so you don't have much time to charm them. Once you have them though, it's a case of keeping their attention. If you have a genuine USP, lean into it. If not (and that's OK) focus on the quality of the liquid - that's the most important thing after all.

Is the Gibson still your favourite cocktail?

It sure is - although Martinis in general are an easy win with me. I've actually got back into Manhattans too although as the summer months approach I'm a bit of a sucker for a highball - whisky or tequila. 

Finally, please share a few must visit bars, in London or beyond.

I love Crossroads in Camden, that bar is a real dark horse, and the new Soda & Friends from the team at Nebula is a corker too. Otherwise, the American Bar at the Stafford is a classic and if you want a couple of tumblers of Sherry, Gordon's never disappoints. Elsewhere, Two Schmucks in Barcelona, Le Syndicat in Paris and Baba Au Rum in Athens.

Oh and Soma, a new(ish) speakeasy-esque bar in Piccadilly Circus. Some of the best cocktails in town at the moment - the sort of place I can pop in for a quiet solo drink pre-dinner. Or post-dinner. Or without dinner.

Our Spirits Communicator award, in partnership with the global drinks producer and exports company, Chivas Brothers, recognises an individual who makes an exceptional contribution towards promoting spirits to the public.

Previous winners include Becky PaskinRyan Chetiyawardana (below), Tom Sandham, Olivier Ward, Alice Lascelles and Dave Broom.