The South West heat of the Wild Turkey Cocktail Competition was hosted at the well-acclaimed Red Light.
It’s never a difficulty to fill spaces when there’s whiskey involved, so the room was packed with the usual Bristol faces, broken up by a smattering of talent from slightly further afield: Reading, Plymouth and Hereford bartenders joined the increasingly nervous throng.
Whilst it was easy to pick out the comptitors from the crowd of moral supporters and rye drinkers, everyone looked ready to have a great day.
The comp consisted of almost three hours of excellent drinks, interesting presentations and stand up bartending.
First up to the mark was Red Lights own Emilio Di Salvo, who to everyone’s amusement forced Martin Taylor to wear a Stetson and a fake moustache over his real one. Making a drink inspired by the Ramos gin fizz may seem a little masochistic, luckily however he had the willing help and hands of his fellow bartenders.
There were punches and fizzes, tiki drinks, seal backs and mahattan twists. Presentations ranged from the sensible and informative to the downright strange. The brand knowledge was impressive and the anecdotes were amusing, one competitor regaled us of his adventures with Bear Grylls, which took a rather surreal turn when he claimed to have killed and eaten the famous adventurer.
There were mega phones, smoking guns and cigars for the judges, a point winner if ever I’ve seen one.
Of course the homemade ingredients were in abundance, shrubs, syrups and cordials. Alex from Milk Bar’s Buddha punch contained a beautifully flavoursome oleo saccharum and my personal favourite was the salted, apple wood smoked raisin syrup, although I wouldn’t suggest trying to say that after a few Turkey 101’s.
The day was rounded off by a passionate and informative presentation from Dan Bovey of Be@1 Bristol, who’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the brand impressed everyone, combined with his delicious drink it won him first prize and see’s him go through to the UK final.
Emilio scooped up the wild card in second place, so all digits crossed for him to make it through and join Dan in London.
All in all it was a day of high-class competition, one that makes you proud to be in the industry. So lets raise a glass to all the bartenders you entered and send our luck to all those who have made it through to the next round.
Daniel Bovey – Russell’s Preserve
- 45ml Wild Turkey 81
- 15ml Apricot jam syrup
- 22ml Lemon juice
- 15ml Sink the Bismarck
- 22ml Egg white
- 2 Dashes orange bitters
Emilio Di Salvo – Dallas Buyer’s Shrub
- 50ml Wild Turkey 101
- 20ml Lemon juice
- 25ml Cream
- 25ml Egg white
- 35ml Apricot shrub
- Soda top