Thom Solberg of Black Rock bar in Shoreditch has won the competition to create the most adventurous bourbon cocktail with a rebel spirit. Rebel Yell bourbon and Cellar Trends staged the brand new competition in London, and will be hosting Thom at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival which celebrates its landmark 25th year this September. Bartenders across London competed in five heats, leading to the grand final shake-down on 22 August at MASH Soho. The judges included Greg Mefford, international sales director at Luxco in the US which owns Rebel Yell, John Rempe, master blender, and world whisky expert Dominic Roskrow.
- Harry Knox, Boulogne bar, Kentish Town
- Lükas Gotze, Three Six Six, Battersea
- Milan Kresan, The Churchill Bar, W1
- Tertius Wharton, Opium, Chinatown
- Thom Solberg, Black Rock, Shoreditch
The winning cocktail by Thom Solberg – Bakken [name inspired by one of the largest oil fields in the US
50ml Rebel Yell bourbon, 15ml Amaro Angostura. 10ml Velvet Falernum, 5ml walnut oil, zest of half a lime.
Shake hard over ice and double strain. Garnish with a side of flamed baby sweetcorn, and fresh plum halves and cherries. Add a torched ear of corn.
Thom Solberg adds, “My personal act of rebellion was to shake up the cocktail – needed due to the oiI. Whereas at my bar Black Rock, all our whisky cocktails are stirred. But there is harmony. I chose the garnish so that every flavour in it reflects the nuances of taste within the Rebell Yell bourbon.”
Overall, a diversity of ingredients in the entrants’ ‘recipes for rebellion’ ranged from: banana liqueur, absinthe, 31yo Armagnac, PX sherry, Chinato, peanut punch, seaweed to corn.