A team from a bar that is so new that it hasn’t yet opened was the winner of a cocktail competition run for Jim Beam whiskey.
The Cocktail Trading Company won the Shake History competition where teams from bars around the UK were challenged to create a drink that was worthy of making history and represented the personality and style of their bar.
Elliot Ball, Andy Mil and Olly Brading, who are preparing to open their first bar as The Cocktail Trading Company in London, came up with a cocktail called Welcome to Kentucky, Have a Nice Day, inspired by Asian ingredients.
The drink was built in a wok and then packaged in Chinese takeaway containers and cleverly “delivered” to the judges complete with a menu and printed receipt detailing key Jim Beam facts.
The garnish was a scotch bonnet chilli and homemade deep-fried sweet bacon noodles made with American honey, dusted with icing sugar. Straws were used in place of chopsticks to complete the effect.
As a prize, they will travel to Kentucky, the home of Jim Beam bourbon, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in 2015.
The final of the competition, held at The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch in east London, ended with a tie breaker between The Cocktail Trading Company and Bristol’s The Milk Thistle.
Both teams raced against the clock to make an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Boulevardier, Whiskey Sour, whiskey highball and a bourbon milk punch. The Cocktail Trading Company was victorious, making the six cocktails in just over one minute.
The other teams came from Mash in Soho, London, City Social in the City of London, The Lace House in Nottingham, and Steam & Rye in the City of London.
The final began with a round challenging them to make and present the original Jim Beam cocktail they came up with to enter the competition.
A second round presented them with ingredients from a mystery box for creating a sharing cocktail inspired by a song played live by bluegrass band The Thumping Tommys.
The winning team’s theatrical presentation and bartending expertise wowed the judges who included Jim Beam’s seventh-generation master distiller Fred Noe and Amanda Humphrey of Maxxium UK’s Mixxit training team. Fred is pictured above with the three winners.
An exclusive Jim Beam master class followed the competition, with Fred leading the group through a tasting of Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year and the newest addition to the bourbon portfolio from Maxxium UK, Knob Creek Rye.
Janice McIntosh, Maxxium UK’s marketing controller for imported whiskey, said: “Our Shake History event was a huge success with talented bartenders from across the country presenting impressive cocktails featuring a range of bourbons from the Jim Beam portfolio.
“This competition was made even more special with our guest of honour Fred Noe who not only judged the competition, a first for him in the UK, but led an exclusive bourbon masterclass for our attendees.
“We are excited to welcome The Cocktail Trading Company into the Jim Beam family and celebrate the success of Jim Beam and the Make History campaign by rewarding them with the unique chance to travel to the Jim Beam American Stillhouse in Kentucky to follow in the brand’s footsteps and make their own history.”
The Shake History competition is part of the global Jim Beam Make History campaign, which aims to inspire consumers “to make their own mark in history” in the same way as Jim Beam which dates back to 1795.
Translation: Welcome to Kentucky, Have a Nice Day
40ml Jim Beam Devil’s Cut
30ml Plum wine
10ml Ginger juice
15ml Yuzu juice
20ml Spice syrup (coriander, cardamom, tamarind, matcha)
Hard-shake ingredients and serve in a noodle box, topped with shaved ice. Garnish with deep-fried sweet bacon noodles made with American honey, chopsticks and fresh Chinatown produce.