Announcing the Brooklyn Semi-Finalists in the The Great King Street Cocktail Competition

In honor of our current Alcohol Issue, which features a profile of Compass Box Whisky Company founder John Glaser, Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn recently partnered with the Scotch whisky makers to host the Great King Street Cocktail Competition. Great King Street is a new blend by Compass Box, one named after the Scottish street where the company is registered and designed for mixing. We asked professional Manhattan and Brooklyn drinks-makers to create a cocktail made with Great King Street and at least one seasonal ingredient.

To test 20 drink recipes, tubs of homemade ingredients piled up at The Rum House.

In honor of Edible Manhattan‘s new Alcohol Issue, which features a profile of Compass Box Whisky Company founder John GlaserEdible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn recently partnered with the Scotch whisky makers to host the Great King Street Cocktail Competition.

Great King Street is a new blend by Compass Box, one named after the Scottish street where the company is registered. Unlike many of Compass Box’s other blends, this one is specifically designed for mixing. So together we asked professional drinks-makers from the two boroughs we cover to create a cocktail made with Great King Street–and at least one seasonally inspired ingredient.

The preliminary round of judging took place last week, and 20 cocktails were made following the recipes provided by contestants at The Rum House by Michael Neff and Kenneth McCoy, co-owners of  that lovely refurbished lounge in the Edison Hotel on 47th Street. Contestants had to tote any unique ingredients to the bar, meaning the place was soon cluttered with a tower of plastic tubs filled with homemade syrups, all kinds of locally sourced liqueurs (sour cherry cordial, ginger mead) and rows and rows of bottles of artisanal bitters from cherry vanilla to highland heather. Many made in Brooklyn, natch.

Using a five point scale to rate the drinks across several categories (which included aroma, creativity and “booze factor,” or whether or not you could taste the Great King Street) 20 concoctions were sniffed, sipped, evaluated and narrowed down by representatives from both Compass Box and Edible to a list of five semi-finalist drinks from Manhattan and five semi-finalist drinks from Brooklyn. Those are:

The Artists Commission, from Aaron Cotler of The Crown Inn
The Charlie Hustle, from Abigail Gullo of Fort Defiance
Red Skies at Night, from Max Messier of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
The Scotch Also Rises, from Richard Murphy of Buttermilk Channel
The Tinderbox, from Anthony Sferra of Buttermilk Channel

Judges kept notes, conferred on final scores and checked their math.

The final contest takes place on Monday, January 23, and one winner from the above–dig the Buttermilk Channel internal competition!–will be picked by a panel of three esteemed tasters: Gabrielle Langholtz, the editor in chief of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, Patrick Watson, the owner of Stinky Bklyn, Jakewalk, Smith & Wine and the Brooklyn Wine Exchange, and Greg Seider, an owner of the Summit Bar in the East Village and the creator of Le Bernardin’s new cocktail menu. Over the next few days we hope to post the recipes for these five beauties above, too, so stay tuned if you want to test them out at home.

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.