Competitors Prepare for Final Shakedown: Who Will Be Crowned the UK’s Best Bourbon Bartender?
Three gruelling regional ‘Bourbon Battles’ hosted by handcrafted Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Rebel Yell have identified the UK finalists of its international cocktail competition - taking each one step closer to a dream trip to Kentucky.
Mikey Pendergast from East London, Lewis Parry from Grimsby and Kealan Lafferty from Dundee each triumphed at the regional semi-finals being declared ‘Best Bourbon Bartender’ in the South of England, North of England and Scotland respectfully.
The bartending trio will now compete at the UK’s final ‘Bourbon Battle’ in London on June 17th, the winner of which will be heading to Lux Row Distillers in Kentucky, US where Rebel Yell is distilled. Here, amidst the backdrop of the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, the lucky individual will fly the UK flag at the global competition final which takes place on September 19th.
Mikey, Lewis and Kealan were all pitted against a high level of bartender talent at regional bourbon battles at The Vault in Soho, London, The Lost and Found in Leeds and McPhabbs in Glasgow. At each venue, spectators watched in awe as each stepped up to create their ‘Lucky 7s’ combination – a Rebel Yell-based cocktail using no more than seven ingredients and taking no longer than seven minutes to make.
Each event saw Michele Reina (Rebel Yell European Brand Ambassador) joined by guest judges including high-profile drinks writers and whiskey aficionados from within the industry. Judges had the enviable task of rating each semi-finalist’s cocktail against the following criteria: appearance; aroma; creativity; taste and overall impression.
The winner of the overall competition will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime grand prize of hand-selecting a Rebel Yell barrel - equivalent to 60 x bottles - with Master Blender and Head Distiller, John Rempe, at Lux Row Distillers, to take home.
John Rempe says: “The quality of entries has been phenomenal this year and it’s so encouraging to see this level of talent across the bartending board. All semi-finalists showed amazing creativity and flair when it came to their serves but Mikey’s, Lewis’ and Kealan’s all had that extra ‘wow’ factor – the judges will have a tough job at the UK final!”
Follow @RebelYellBourbonUK on Instagram and Facebook for Bourbon Battle updates.
The Finalists’ Winning ‘Lucky 7s’ Cocktails:
‘If You Don't Dance Then Sit Down’ - Mikey Pendergast - East London Liquor Company, London – The South of England UK Finalist
• 50ml Rebel Yell Bourbon
• 0,1 Bar Spoon Franks Hot Sauce
• 10ml Monin Mango Syrup
• 10ml Greek Eucalyptus Honey
• 20ml Lemon Juice
• 02 Drops Ms. Betters Miracle Foamer/
• 1 Egg White
Method: Shake and strain ingredients into a cocktail glass. Garnish with silver dill popcorn
‘The Rebel Road’ - Lewis Parry - The Curious Cat, Grimsby – The North of England UK Finalist
• 40ml Rebel Yell Straight Kentucky Bourbon
• 20ml Briottet Coco Liqueur
• 1 bar spoon Re'al coco
• 10ml Agave Surup
• 1/3 Pipette Miracle Foamer
• Topped with English Sparkling Wine (Bolney)
Method: Shake and fine strain ingredients into a flute glass. Garnish with desiccated coconut.
'Unbridled Spirit' – Kealan Lafferty – Tom’s, Dundee – Scotland’s UK Finalist
• 50ml Rebel Yell Bourbon
• 5ml Branca Menta
• 5ml Banana Liqueur
• 50ml Coconut Milk
• 15ml Lemon Juice
• 5ml Sugar Syrup
Method: Shake and single strain into a highball over crushed ice. Garnish with dehydrated banana chips.
Made using only the choicest ingredients, pure limestone-filtered water and charred new white oak barrels for ageing, Rebel Yell boasts a honey raisin scent and a long, warm finish. A full-bodied whiskey with honey, butter and a hint of dark fruits, including plum and raisins, gives this wheated bourbon a unique style that is perfectly balanced for cocktails or simply served on the rocks.
Boasting 170 years of heritage, Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey has been produced to the same recipe since it was launched by the W.L. Weller family back in 1849. Now owned by Luxco and distilled by Lux Row Distillers, it is one of only a few select wheated bourbons produced today.
The full range available in the UK consists of Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Rye, Small Batch Reserve, 10-Year-Old (limited availability), Ginger, Honey and Cherry and is available through most routes to market including Matthew Clark (extended list) and LWC. Rebel Yell can also be purchased online through Amazon, Master of Malt and Whisky Exchange.
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