Two triumphant bartenders are headed on a VIP trip to New Orleans, the birthplace of Southern Comfort and home of the soon-to-be-launched Sazerac House immersive cocktail experience. The prize is reward for their new signature serves for Southern Comfort, which have won the Southern Showdown 2019 cocktail competition.
Adam Day of Wilderness in Manchester and Scott Addison of Beast, London will be guests of Southern Comfort UK distributor Hi-Spirits in New Orleans in July for the Tales of the Cocktail festival, enjoying the party spirit of the city where bartender M.W. Heron first blended Southern Comfort in 1874.
The grand final of the Southern Showdown, held on board the Dixie Queen riverboat on the Thames, saw Adam, Scott and two other finalists prepare and serve their cocktails for the judges and around 300 invited industry guests. Each bartender had their own satellite bar on the boat, giving them the space to demonstrate their skill, flair and product knowledge.
The winning cocktails were:
- Showdown Winner, selected by the on-board judges: Adam Day with the Lagniappe (pronounced Lan-yap). A rosé twist on a classic kir cocktail combining Southern Comfort Original with stone fruit flavours including blackberry.
- People’s Champion, voted for by the guests on board: Scott Addison with Black Banana, a fresh take on the banana daiquiri, made with Southern Comfort Black and a smoky, grilled banana syrup.
Entrants were asked to put Southern Comfort at the heart of their recipe, devising a cocktail that tastes great, is easily replicable and above all tells a great story. Cocktails included the bartender’s choice of either Southern Comfort Original, Southern Comfort Black or Southern Comfort 100 Proof.
Toni Law, Southern Comfort brand manager with Hi-Spirits, said: “This year’s Southern Showdown was the most challenging yet. There were mystery judges on board the Dixie Queen, so none of the finalists knew when they were being marked as they made and served their signature cocktails.
“The satellite bars added an additional element not seen in other competitions, with 300 guests eager to try each of the cocktails queuing up to be served. All four finalists did a fantastic job and should be very proud. The new serves created for the competition demonstrate the versatility of the Southern Comfort range in cocktails that capture the true spirit of New Orleans.”
Showdown winner Adam Day said: “Every drink was delicious and it must have been extremely difficult for the judges to choose a winner. I think my drink won because it was a different interpretation, not what you expect from a Southern Comfort cocktail.
“I called it Lagniappe, which is Creole slang for ‘baker’s dozen’ or a little something extra. The beauty of batching a drink is that you’re giving guests the luxury of time, they’re not waiting at the bar, they can get a tasty drink straight away and spend that time with friends.”
The other finalists were:
- Dan Crowther of Hedonist, Leeds with McCauley’s Ice Tea. Bringing together two cultures and their different styles of tea, made with Southern Comfort 100 Proof and a homemade Yorkshire Iced Tea.
- Gareth Rees of the Fat Bear, London, with the Count of Orleans. A British cream tea take on a classic milk punch, infusing Southern Comfort Black with a blend of teas.
The four were selected after a Bartenders’ Challenge designed to test all aspects of bartending, held at Hi-Spirits’ new cocktail bar at the company’s offices in Surrey. Twelve entrants – two from each of the six regions – were picked from more than 200 initial entries received.