Sometimes it can be fun to compete, whether with others or yourself. I often make it a game to see if I can get more hits than I got the last month, then if I do I buy myself a nice beer or go to a movie. However until Sunday I’d never actually put my cocktails up for consideration in a real live competition. I squared off with four real bartenders who favored boozy classic cocktails, I the lone blogger with my Tiki regalia. Apparently that day the judges were looking for a real whiskey forward sip and a play on the old fashioned won the day. All the drinks were great and I consider each competitor a good friend and member of our local USBG chapter family. We may not have carried the judges but the crowd sure did swarm my little table. Some seconds, even thirds of my cocktail were served to eager attendees. In the end it was an honor to stand and compete with real talented bartenders who ply their trade every night. To commemorate the event I’d like to present for your consideration our submission to the first annual Vulcan Cocktail Competition.
The sponsor for the contest was Clyde Mays whiskey. They are projected to open Alabama’s second ever distillery this fall and bring some jobs to our lovely state. Their whiskey is a mix of corn, wheat, and rye with green apple, cinnamon, and vanilla added to it as it rests for a year. This recipe is based on the Christmas Whiskey that a a bootlegger of the same name would give to customers. We added our homemade grenadine to give it a rusty red color like I remember Vulcan having when I was a child. To that we balanced it with some fresh citrus and added some Benedictine to play up the spices already present in the whiskey. Though it would have been to many ingredients for the contest we do encourage you to add a few drops of Angostura to the recipe. It provides the much needed something that I had wanted for the cocktail.
2 oz Clyde Mays whiskey
½ oz Benedictine
1 oz fresh lime juice
½ oz white grapefruit juice
¾ oz pomegranate syrup (Grenadine)
a few drops Angostura bitters
Shake together the ingredients with ice and then pour unstrained into a chimney glass. Garnish with a metal straw and a sprig of mint.
For the syrup: Combine equal parts pomegranate juice and white sugar in a small saucepan while stirring often bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Allow to simmer for two minutes and then remove from the heat. Cool and bottle.
Notes of lime, apple, pomegranate and warming spices meet the nose. The palate is greeted by bits of apple and oak which explodes into wonderful spices in which cinnamon is dominant. Pomegranate and citrus notes provide a tart structure to hold the flavor. It finishes with a mix of tartness, oak and apple. Should the mint offend we suggest removing it before enjoying the drink.
Hey you can’t win them all but it was an honor to compete with friends and experienced colleagues. We look forward to more competitions in which we can show off just how great we think Tiki cocktails are. Did you see us there? Have you tried the drink? Drop us a line and comment below. Until next time…
“You Get Hammered America!” – JFL