Three bartenders are off to Kentucky and New York City after winning a UK competition run for Wild Turkey bourbon.
The overall winner was Dan Bovey of Be At One Bar in Bristol, who came up with Russell’s Preserve, mixing the bourbon with apricot syrup, BrewDog Sink the Bismarck IPA beer, egg white, lemon juice and Regans’ Bitters, garnished with hops and orange zest.
The two runners-up, who will be joining him on the trip to the US, were Robin Honhold of White Lyan in east London and Adam Binnersley of Mojo in Manchester.
The UK final was held at NOLA Bar in London with judges headed by Eddie Russell, the legendary master distiller for Wild Turkey.
Eddie said: “Dan’s drink made the most of the flavours in our bourbon. Coupled with what he knew about Wild Turkey without having been at the distillery makes Dan a worthy winner this year.
“Everybody did a great job, I know me being here sort of makes people a little nervous, although they shouldn’t be because I’m just an old Kentucky boy.
“These are the guys who are growing the industry and doing such a wonderful job.”
Their trip will take them to the home of Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, but will also include a stop-over in New York City to visit some of the world’s top bars as a guest of the brand.
The final saw fierce competition with nine of the UK’s best bartenders competing after being chosen in six heats in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and east and west London. As well as making an original cocktail, they had to answer a tough quiz on their bourbon knowledge and complete a Wild Turkey Manhattan tasting challenge.
Dan said: “It’s just unbelievable and completely unexpected. I went on first so watching everyone present after me and seeing they were all such a high standard – it has completely blown me away that I’ve won.
“It completely freaked me out having Eddie there because a lot of my presentation was about Eddie and the Russells, so telling Eddie about what he does was nerve racking and crazy.”
Bartender Josh Reynolds from Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London, who was last year’s winner, said: “I thought the cocktails, especially the cocktails that were twisted or the way that they used simplicity through complexity was a ballsy move and I thought it was thoroughly enjoyable.
“The winners are set for an unforgettable trip to Kentucky and New York. It was amazing last year – Wild Turkey definitely knows how to host!”
The other finalists were: Stefano Chila from Novokov in London; Claudio Poggi from Lab in London: Jamie Jones, a Manchester-based bar and drinks consultant; Nathan Shearer of Callooh Callay in London; Jamie Moran of Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn in Glasgow; and Ryan Sneddon of Tonic in Edinburgh.
Pictured above are Eddie Russell, Josh Reynolds, Dan Bovey, Robin Honhold and Adam Binnersley.
Russell’s Preserve by Dan Bovey
45ml Wild Turkey 81 bourbon
15ml Apricot syrup (made with 50% apricot jam, 50% sugar syrup)
22ml Lemon juice
2 dash Regans’ Bitters
15ml BrewDog Sink the Bismarck
15ml Egg white
Shake ingredients and serve in a rocks glass with cubed ice. Garnish with hops and orange zest.
Pictures by Curtis Gibson.