The Wild Turkey Cocktail Competition will take three bartenders on a trip to Kentucky, via Manhattan.
This is a great prize, and with three places up for grabs, the odds of winning are good. This probably had something to do with the level of preparation that had clearly gone into the drinks and presentations on display at the West London heat of the comp.
Taking place in Opium (if ever a bar needed an elevator, this is it), there were quite a few strong, stirred drinks as you would expect in a bourbon comp. But rather pleasingly, a few bartenders looked outside the Old Fashioned / Manhattan box, with Marco Piroli’s (LAB) Tiki cocktail ‘Reservoir Turkeys’ , served with pineapple and bacon of particular note.
The competitors were also being judged on storytelling, which made for some interesting presentations. In particular, Stefano Chila of Novokov excelled at this, telling the story of an Italian Don visiting the Kentucky Derby and discovering Bourbon.
His drink used basil and sherry, which worked incredibly well with the Wild Turkey, and was presented on a small patch of turf with a racehorse garnish, which was enough to win him the heat, and a place in the final.
Nathan Shearer of Callooh Callay presented a beautiful stirred drink called Hunter’s Breakfast, which put him in second place.
Stefano Chila’s winning drink
Don of the Derby
45ml Wild Turkey 101
25ml Oloroso Sherry
3 Drops of Tartaric acid
3 Large basil leaves
Shake all ingredients, pour into a chilled goblet, with block ice, and garnish with a basil leaf.