Jacob Cohen from Three Wolves in Cairns, Queensland, has taken out the National title at the inaugural Southern Comfort Travelling Tales Cocktail Competition with his unique Southern Comfort and beer cocktail, The Bootlegger.
Held at the NOLA Smokehouse and Bar in Barangaroo on Tuesday night, hundreds of guests were transported to the vibrant city of New Orleans for the National Final, experiencing the sounds of the Deep South and Southern-inspired food.
Ten of the country’s top mixologists then went head-to-head for their shot to be crowned the National Champion. Each competitor confidently mixed their ingredients to create their unique concoction that highlighted the versatility of Southern Comfort as a cocktail ingredient, whilst telling their tale of inspiration.
The judging panel, which scored each cocktail based on authenticity, flavour, presentation and delivery of their tale, included SouthTrade International National Training Manager Gee David, Time Out Alcohol Lead Martin Barrett, Australian Bartender Magazine Editor Sam Bygrave, and Bespoke Drinks drinks consultant Ben Davidson.
After months of searching the country for Australia’s best bartender, ultimately, it was Jacob Cohen’s cocktail that wowed the judges due to his perfect balance of sweet and sour. Jacob was inspired by tales from his grandfather’s bootlegger days in America in the 1920s and a specific quote that his grandfather once shared: ‘There are few sweeter things in this life than the tantalising combination of Southern Comfort and beer.’
Jacob said that he was honored to compete alongside the highly skilled finalists and was chuffed to take the win.
“To this day, this is the most incredible thing that has ever happened in my life. I know my grandfather is looking down on me right now and is super proud. Thank you to the competitors, the organisers and Southern Comfort, it’s been an amazing night.”
Gee David, National Training Manager at SouthTrade International, was impressed by the calibre of the finalists cocktails and how the competition has revitalised Southern Comfort usage among bartenders.
“It was a very difficult decision to select a winner as all the finalists had incredible stories to tell and every cocktail emphasised a different flavour note of Southern Comfort. The bartending talent we have across Australia is phenomenal, but Jacob stood out for his daring cocktail combination and passionate delivery of his tale. We look forward to seeing all of the finalist’s unique creations being added to Southern Comfort cocktail lists around Australia.”
Second place went to Ryan Lane from The Gresham in Queensland for his coffee creation LaLaurie Zoom, and third place went to Hayley Dixon from Lily Blacks in Victoria for her mini-rainforest cocktail Rattle and Hum. The ‘People’s Choice Award’, voted by the audience, was won by Emma Burns from the The Clock Hotel in News South Wales for her floral-inspired Shoreditch Sazzy. Jacob will now prepare for his trip to the Big Easy, the city of New Orleans.
For more images and videos from the night, visit https://www.facebook.com/southerncomfortaustralia.
Here is Jacob’s winning cocktail!
Jacob Cohen, Three Wolves, Queensland
I was always enthralled by tales my grandad would share with me, he was an Irishman who moved to America in the 1920s. The tales he would share the most were ones of prohibition. I seemed to love the tale of the bootleggers, the tale would undoubtedly start with reminiscences of the salt in the air from Lake Pontchartrain, he would recall how the bootleggers would keep liquor and beer in their large boots. To this day I remember the words that rolled of his tongue “there are few sweeter things in this life than the tantalising combination of Southern Comfort and beer”
60ml Southern Comfort
30ml NOLA rebirth Pale Ale/Aperol/Honey reduction
25ml Lemon juice
10ml Saline solution (5pt salt/1pt pepper)
Add all ingredients to shaker. Add ice. Shake. Double strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with hop flowers pegged.