Wild Turkey seeks best whiskey bartenders

Eddie RussellGruppo Campari is looking for the best whiskey bartender in the UK through a new competition for its bourbon Wild Turkey.

Taking place in August this year, it invites bartenders from across the country to compete for the title of UK Wild Turkey Champion 2013.

It will be preceded by a series of masterclasses in Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol and London with Wild Turkey’s associate master distiller Eddie Russell (pictured).

The deadline for entries is July 31 via www.wildturkeycocktailcomp.co.uk. Regional heats will be held in Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, and London followed by a national final in Manchester.

The winning bartender plus two runners-up will each win a trip to the Wild Turkey distillery in Kentucky during the annual bourbon festival.

The first round of the competition kicks off in August. Mystery shoppers will visit the entrants’ bars to assess their cocktail-making skills to choose who wins a place at the regional heats.

Ten of the best cocktail makers in each city will compete at the regional heats for two places in the national final, which will be held in the bar at the premises of consultancy The Liquorists in Manchester on September 2.

Judges including Simon Difford of Diffordsguide, Wild Turkey UK brand ambassador Martin Taylor and Hugo Mills of Gruppo Campari will look for a bartender with passion and an understanding of authentic Kentucky bourbon in a showcase of craftsmanship, balance and taste.

Russell said: “I am excited to talk to UK bartenders about the natural process of making bourbon and how Wild Turkey is different to other whiskeys. We use only the best grains and barrels with the highest char. Plus we distil at a very low proof to maintain the deep, rich flavour. All this leads to the most robust, flavourful bourbon in the industry.

“In the US, bourbon is experiencing massive growth thanks to bartenders rediscovering all the classic cocktails: Manhattans, Whiskey Sours, and Old Fashioneds. Those famous drinks, and the contemporary versions we are seeing lately, really showcase the great natural flavours in bourbon.”

The activity follows the appointment of Wild Turkey’s first UK brand ambassador, Martin Taylor, a former bartender in Nottingham and Manchester, including the Black Dog Ballroom.

The full schedule of this month’s master classes with Eddie Russell are as follows:

Monday July 22 The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, at 11am
Tuesday July 23 Room, Manchester at 12pm
Tuesday July 23 Boilermaker, Hockley, Nottingham at 5pm
Wednesday July 24 The Victoria, John Bright Street, Birmingham at 12.30pm
Thursday July 25 The Milk Thistle, Bristol at 12pm
Friday July 26 The Blues Kitchen, Camden, London at 12pm

Christophe Schaillee, regional director Europe at Campari International, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to have Eddie Russell launching the first-ever UK Wild Turkey Cocktail competition and at the same time host the master bourbon classes.

“Wild Turkey is very respected by bartenders and is becoming very fashionable with consumers, and this is a great occasion for audiences to know and appreciate the brand even more. We are very proud of our product and these events are the best way to show the uniqueness and versatility of Wild Turkey.”

More details at www.wildturkeycocktailcomp.co.uk.

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