By Rebecca Harris

The best examples of classic cocktails have been identified at the inaugural 2010 Ultimate Spirit Challenge, after judges tasted a range of spirit brands to determine which worked best in each cocktail.

While spirit competitions typically involve tasting a spirit within its defined category, this is the first time they have been put head-to-head in a cocktail challenge.

Judges, including the ‘King of Cocktails’ Dale de Groff and reigning US Bartender of the Year Jim Meehan, tasted which gins fared best in classic cocktails like a Dry Martini, a Negroni and a Gin and Tonic.

Tanqueray scored best overall with their London Dry judged best for the Dry Martini, Negroni and Tom Collins, as well Tanqueray No. Ten getting the nod for the Aviation.  Plymouth gin came up tops for the Gin and Tonic.

In other categories, Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Rye was judged best American Whiskey both the Manhattan and the Mint Julep, while Woodford Reserve was considered the top choice for an Old Fasioned.

Well-known spirits expert and co-founder of the Ultimate Spirit Challenge F. Paul Pacault, last year said that this new way of tasting would better recognise premium and stand-out products.

“[It will] evaluate spirits categories in the context of how they taste in representative cocktails," he said.

The Shout Team

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

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