Bartenders off to Kentucky and NYC after Wild Turkey success

Wild Turkey 2014 winners

Josh Reynolds from Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London will be heading to Kentucky and New York after winning Wild Turkey bourbon’s 2014 UK cocktail competition.

He triumphed over 10 other finalists at Manchester’s Cane & Grain bar, creating a cocktail called The Black Feather which combined Wild Turkey 81 with Punt e Mes vermouth and a homemade smoked salted pineapple syrup.

Josh will be joined on the trip by the two runners-up: Michael Sharpe from Hyde & Co in Bristol and Ali Reynolds, also from Hawksmoor Spitalfields.

The final came after 200 entries were whittled down through a series of regional heats. The judges at the final included Wild Turkey brand ambassador Martin Taylor and the competition’s 2013 winner Henry Yates of Boilermaker in Nottingham. Josh is pictured above with Henry and Martin.

Josh, who is pictured below making his drink, said: “It’s a real honour to have won the Wild Turkey 2014 cocktail competition, particularly as I was up against some of the UK’s best bartenders.

“Wild Turkey is an iconic bourbon, full of integrity, flavour and character, so my cocktail The Black Feather looked at enhancing the flavours that the deep-grade charring of the barrels lends to 81.

“I focused on the impact that caramel and vanilla has on the actual whiskey, sensing a tropical note and freshness that was pulled through by my homemade smoked salted pineapple syrup and the classical ingredient of Punt e Mes.

“Simplicity through complexity was a massive factor for me and celebrating the obvious flavours of 81 but in a very charismatic style.”

The exclusive winning trip will see the three bartenders explore the newly opened Wild Turkey Visitor Centre in Kentucky, including a tour and special tasting, before heading to New York City to check out its best bourbon bars.

The other bartenders to win places in the final were Michael Braun of Panda & Sons in Edinburgh, Michael Cameron of Guy’s Restaurant & Bar in Glasgow, Tim Laferla of Mr Cooper’s House & Garden in Manchester (now at Bam Bou Red Bar in London), Paul Murphy of Whiskey Business in Liverpool, Andy Moran of Boilermaker, Joe Macbeth of The Lacehouse in Nottingham, and Richard Tring of Red Light in Bristol.

The Black Feather by Josh Reynolds

42.5ml Wild Turkey 81 bourbon
30ml Punt e Mes vermouth
7.5ml Homemade smoked salted pineapple syrup

Put all ingredients in a stirring beaker. Add cubed ice, and stir down with a bar spoon until the desired temperature is reached. Serve straight up in a classic coupette glass and garnish with a discarded lemon zest.

Josh Reynolds Hawksmoor Spitalfields

Pictures by Pete Sheppard Photography.
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