Buffalo Trace Barrel-Aged Cocktail Comp – Scottish Leg

Eight bartenders from across Scotland battled it out to create a barrel-aged cocktail masterpiece using Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Buffalo Trace White Dog unaged spirit.

A few months ago BarLifeUK were on hand to judge the London leg of this competition (check out the results here) and were blown away by the creativity and multitude of skills shown. Whilst we weren’t at the Scottish heat at the Bon Vivant in Edinburgh we hear that the levels were just as high.

Kyle in full flow

The competition works like this. Each bar was given a five-litre Buffalo Trace charred oak barrel two months before the competition date. From there competitors could do pretty much what they wanted. The only rule was that the cocktail had to be aged for a minimum of 24 hours although most aged for longer.

In London ‘seasoning’ the barrel was a very popular and effective technique and it seems the Scottish heat was no different as the Hi-Spirits Scottish sales rep Chris Deacon explained ‘Many bartenders also use their own ‘wash’, such as wine or sherry, to rinse the barrel before adding the spirit, creating further depth of flavour.’

The competitors were
Kyle Jamieson, the Bon Vivant Edinburgh
Grant Neave, Monteiths Edinburgh
Jack Coughlan, the Last Word, Edinburgh
Gordon Purnell, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Adrian Gomes, the Tippling House, Aberdeen
Alex Lawrence, Orchid, Aberdeen
Scott Ingram, the Blythswood Square Hotel, Glasgow
Ervin Trykowski, the Finnieston Bar, Glasgow

There were a few stand out techniques such as Grant popping open his barrel to re-char the inside of the oak staves, before reassembling it to age his cocktail and Scott who conditioned his cask with coffee and served a hot cocktail alongside buffalo meat on heated stones from the oven.

Gordon showed his usual level of commitment and detail by repeatedly changing the location of the barrel between the venue’s heated office and chilled cellar. This caused the wood to expand and contract, allowing Gordon’s Vieux Carre cocktail to extract as much flavour from the wood as possible.

However, the overall winner was Kyle Jamieson of the Bon Vivant, making his cocktail competition debut. Kyle’s Kentucky Reviver #113 was scored highest by the judges across all the criteria.  Aged for 113 hours in a Malbec-conditioned cask and based on a Corpse Reviver, the cocktail used Buffalo Trace, Buffalo Trace White Dog spiced with orange zest, Cocchi Americano and lactart acid (full specs below).

The competition doesn’t end there however as now each bar will compete to see who can sell the most of their cocktail to the public who can also vote for their favourite on-line here

Winning Drink – Kyle Jamieson, Bon Vivant, Edinburgh

Kentucky Reviver #113

  • 40ml Buffalo Trace
  • 25ml Cocchi Americano
  • 15ml orange dog liqueur (recipe below)
  • 5ml lactart acid
  • Absinthe spray to finish

Aged for 113 hours with a Malamado fortified Malbec finish on the barrel.

Using the acid I wanted to create a refreshing citrus based drink and a twist on the original Corpse Reviver #2 that I love. The orange liqueur was made using a whole bottle of Buffalo Trace White Dog and 5 oranges which I zested and let sit for 5 days. Using the Cocchi adds a nice bitterness to the drink and I found works well with a large measure of Buffalo Trace!