Historical Cocktail Competitions

Darcy O'Neil :: September 2, 2008 9:51 PM

After browsing though hundreds, if not thousands, of old newspaper articles, I've come across some interesting cocktails. One of the neat things is the news reports on cocktail competitions. Some of these are as early as 1888. In my brief review of the winning cocktails, not many, if any, have made it to the modern era of bartending. Some haven't made it because the ingredients no longer exist (i.e. Montana Cordial, anybody?) or they were just lost to time. Well, I'm going to fix that and do some posts on these lost cocktails.

Competition-drink-2The first competition winning cocktail I wanted explore was one from 1965. The competition was held in Buenos Aires, by the International Bartenders' Association, and involved 41 bartenders from around the world. The winner of the event was a 31 year old bartender named J. Raul Echenique.

The news clip doesn't give the name of the recipe, but they do provide some details, like the recipe.

4 parts Scotch
3 parts Dark Rum
2 parts Sweet Vermouth
1 part Apricot Liqueur

Instructions: Stir with ice and serve with a Maraschino cherry

Now, selecting ingredients is a personal choice. For scotch I selected Té Bheag (pronounced "chey vek"). The name means "the little lady" and is the name of the boat in the company's logo. The name also means a "wee dram" in colloquial Gaelic. But, that being said it is a fantastic blended scotch. It is relatively young (minimum 5 years) and is finished in sherry casks. It is also unchilled filtered. Nicely priced also.Competition-drink

For the rum I went with Lamb's Navy. No particular reason other than it was probably around, at the time of this competition. It is a decent rum and one that many bars probably stock.

For the vermouth I selected Punt e Mes. Vermouths have changed over the years, and the key change has been the reduction of bitterness. Using a solid vermouth like Punt e Mes should be a reasonable choice considering the time period.

Apricot liqueur, I went with Bols Apricot 'cause that's all I have in the apricot family of liqueurs at the moment.

Taste-wise this drink isn't bad. The scotch definitely stands out, and so does the vermouth. Oddly, the rum isn't that obvious, nor is the apricot. If you don't like scotch, you probably won't enjoy this drink. However, you can always substitute something like bourbon or Canadian whisky and this drink would do OK. Overall, not a bad drink.


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