By Rebecca Harris

Sean Baxter of Manchuria bar in Melbourne was named inaugural winner of the National Woodford Reserve Cocktail Competition on Monday night.

Held at Silk Road bar in Melbourne, Baxter joined finalists Stuart Reeves, Ranjinth Cebreco, Michael Broderick, Dan Gregory and Andy Griffiths in what turned out to be to be a close competition.

“The calibre of bartending at the final was very high – from the quality of drinks to knowledge of the category and brand. We saw the full spectrum of cocktails from Old Fashioneds to Flips and Blazers, which made the judging incredibly challenging,” said judge and managing editor of bars&clubs magazine, James Wilkinson.

Woodford Reserve’s assistant brand manager, Kate Mansour, said she was “thrilled so many talented bartenders got involved. The finalists were selected because of their extensive Woodford Reserve and category knowledge and, of course, because of a superb cocktail, beautiful presented with balanced flavour, enhancing Woodford Reserve’s complex characteristics”.

Entrants had to submit a cocktail recipe using a minimum of 30ml of Woodford Reserve. Points were awarded for balance, flavour, presentation and knowledge of the spirit, with Baxter’s ‘Copper Feel’ the overall winner on the night.

“Well done to Sean Baxter, who came through on not just his drink, but a brilliant presentation that involved calling a mock-up horse race using the name of his ingredients and notable Woodford Reserve characteristics as his horses,” Wilkinson said.

Second place went to Griffiths from Cookie (Melbourne), Cebreco from The ArtHouse Hotel (Sydney) was third, while Gregory from Onyx (Brisbane) was fourth.

All four recieved a rare bottle of Woodford Reserve Four Grain, with Baxter also taking home $1000 cash.



The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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