Bartender wins Kentucky trip after proving his ‘rebel spirit’

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A bartender has won a VIP trip to Kentucky after demonstrating his “rebel spirit” in a cocktail competition with Rebel Yell bourbon.

Michele Reina from Found bar in Shoreditch, London, was crowned the 2017 Rebel Yell Band Of Rebels Bartender Cocktail champion at a grand final in London.

His Deviled Egg serve combined three ingredients: Rebel Yell Small Batch Reserve, a quinine-based syrup and a whole egg infused with spices and herbals, ranging from Jamaican pimento through to fig.

Shaken and thrown, it was transformed into a modern-day egg nog with marzipan cake flavours. John Rempe, master blender of Rebel Yell Bourbon, is pictured adding a garnish of “a flurry of early snow” to Michele’s cocktail.

His prize is a VIP-hosted trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September. The action-packed itinerary also explores the legendary Bourbon Trail and gives Michele an early preview of the new Rebel Yell distillery, Lux Row, which is set to open in spring 2018.

Also reaching the top three at the grand final, held at Smith & Wollensky in Covent Garden, were Chris Tanner of The Vault in Soho and Steve Law of Mash London in Soho.

The competition encouraged bartenders to innovate a new generation of bourbon cocktails, calling out to “risk-takers in bourbon mixology”. The challenge was to create an original cocktail with a “modern rebel spirit” that steered away from typical dark spirits cocktails. Entrants used Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye, Kentucky Straight Bourbon or Small Batch Reserve.

Rebel Yell Michele Reina Deviled Egg

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