The finalists have been announced in a competition run for American whiskey Rebel Yell to find “risk-takers” in using bourbon in cocktails.
The seven, all from London bars apart from one from Norwich, will take part in a grand final on August 21 at Smith & Wollensky in London, hosted by the brand’s UK distributor, Cellar Trends. They are:
- Artur Staskevich of TT Liquor, London
- Chris Tanner of The Vault, London
- Ernest Reid of Smith & Wollensky, London
- Jackson Swallow of Gonzo’s Tea Room, Norwich
- Michele Reina from Found, London
- Steve Law of Mash London
- Thom Solberg of Black Rock, London
They will be competing to win a VIP hosted trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in the USA in September. They will also go on the Bourbon Trail of whiskey distilleries and have a preview of the new Rebel Yell distillery, Lux Row, that is set to open in spring 2018.
The 2017 Band of Rebels Cocktail Competition encourages bartenders to be innovative in creating a “new generation” of bourbon cocktails, calling out to “risk-takers in bourbon mixology”. The challenge is to create an original cocktail with “a modern rebel spirit” that steers away from typical dark spirits cocktails. Entrants used Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye, Kentucky Straight Bourbon, or Small Batch Reserve.