Scottish bartenders in barrel-ageing challenge


Kyle JamiesonA cocktail inspired by a classic Corpse Reviver and aged for 113 hours in a malbec-conditioned cask won a Buffalo Trace barrel-ageing competition in Edinburgh.

Kyle Jamieson (pictured) of The Bon Vivant in Thistle Street, Edinburgh, created Kentucky Reviver #113 which used Buffalo Trace, Buffalo Trace White Dog spiced with orange zest, Cocchi Americano vermouth and lactic acid.

It was aged using one of the five-litre Buffalo Trace charred oak barrels that were distributed to selected bars in Scotland two months ago. Kyle conditioned his with malbec wine before using it to age his cocktail.

He and seven other bartenders from bars around Scotland were challenged to create cocktails made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Buffalo Trace White Dog unaged spirit and age them for at least 24 hours.

They presented their drinks at a competition held at The Bon Vivant in Thistle Street this month. They were marked on taste, appearance, technique, knowledge, presentation and saleability, with many competitors ageing their cocktails for much more than 24 hours.

Grant Neave of Monteiths in Edinburgh’s High Street popped open his barrel to re-char the inside of the oak staves, before reassembling it to age his cocktail.

Scott Ingram of Blythswood Square hotel in Glasgow city centre conditioned his cask with coffee and served a hot cocktail alongside buffalo meat on heated stones from the oven.

One of the most meticulous was Gordon Purnell of The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh’s New Town, who repeatedly changed the location of the barrel between the venue’s heated office and chilled cellar. This caused the wood to expand and contract, allowing his Vieux Carré cocktail to extract as much flavour from the wood as possible.

Other bartenders taking part were Jack Coughlan from The Last Word in Stockbridge in Edinburgh, Adrian Gomes of The Tippling House in Aberdeen, Alex Lawrence of Orchid in Aberdeen and Ervin Trykowski of The Finnieston in Glasgow.

Chris Deacon, Scottish field sales representative for Hi-Spirits, distributors of Buffalo Trace and organisers of the competition, said: “Spirits which have been barrel-aged develop deeper and more complex flavours from the wood. Many bartenders also use their own ‘wash’, such as wine or sherry, to rinse the barrel before adding the spirit, creating a further depth of flavour.”

The eight bars are now competing with each other to see who can sell most of each cocktail to the public. The patrons of each bar can vote for their favourite Buffalo Trace barrel-aged cocktail at www.buffalotrace.co.uk/edinburg-barrel-competition/.

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