Harveys Cobbler Challenge Final

7 bartenders recently battled it out for a trip to the home of Sherry, Jerez in Spain at the final of the Harveys Cobbler Challenge.

Over the last 12 months sherry has become an ever-present ingredient in cocktail competitions with bartenders discovering that the different varietals can be used to great effect with a wide range of spirit categories and cocktail styles.

Adrian finishing off his Cobbler entry

Over here at BarLifeUK we are fans of sherry in cocktails and as such were delighted when Harveys approached us with the news they were going to be running their own competition. We got even more enthused when we discovered the challenge was going to be to re-invent the much maligned Sherry Cobbler using any of the range of Harveys sherries.

With the Harveys range consisting of Harveys Fino, Harveys Medium Sherry and Harveys Bristol Cream in addition to the award winning Very Old Rare Sherry range (VORS), including Harveys Fine Old Amontillado, Harveys Palo Cortado, Harveys Rich Old Oloroso and Harveys PX we knew that the entries were going to be diverse and very interesting.

The first challenge was, with the help of Mixxit’s Amanda Humphrey, narrowing the huge numbers of entries down to a manageable group for the final. After only minor arguments we had our finalists and they descended on the Discount Suit Company to battle it out.

Joining us and Amanda on the judging panel were Maxxium’s John Clay and sherry lover Simon Toohey from Penkul & Banks. We were ready for 7 very different takes on the Sherry Cobbler and we weren’t to be disappointed by our finalists:

Andrew and his patented cheesy jigger grin
  • Matt Green, Discount Suit Company
  • Simone Rossi, Quo Vadis
  • Frederico, Salvatore’s Bar at the Playboy Club
  • Adrian Gomez, Tippling House
  • Gianfranco Cacciola, Bar Quadrato at the Four Seasons
  • Matthew Greenwood, Dirty Martini
  • Andrew Loudon, Satan’s Whiskers

To give you an idea of the variety of drinks that were served up, of the seven different varieties of Harveys available to them the bartenders used six between them.

It wasn’t only the Harveys that provided different results but the serves themselves with Matt’s drink coming out in some great old tankards for his Shipshape and Bristol Fashion creation focusing on the Bristol connection to the brand including a gunpowder ale syrup. Simone swizzled his drink which included Fino and PX before serving in a glass wrapped in sheet music paper.

Gianfranco used two different flavours of granita in two serves which both had the Fine Old Amontillado at their hearts. Adrian produced a beautifully balanced drink with a Housemade Brioche and Blueberry Shrub which had all the judges reaching back for a second and third taste.

However on the day it was Andrew who topped the pile with his winning cocktail using Harveys Palo Cartado combined with walnut syrup, lemon juice, apple juice and rose water. He is off to Jerez with his plus one (head to Satan’s to try and bribe him to be that one) and with a bit of luck BarLifeUK will also be heading out to bring you more sherry related geekery soon.

Andrew’s winning drink:

  • 60ml Harveys Palo Cortado sherry
  • 20ml walnut syrup
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 25ml fresh pink lady apple juice
  • 1 drop rose water

Build in shaker. Very quick shake. Strain into wine glass over cracked ice. Garnish with mint sprig, lemon twist, amarena cherry and a straw.