Great King Street Competition
By Vincenza Di Maggio

Photo by Clay Williams. Courtesy of Compass Box Whisky

Challenged with the task of creating enlightened whisky cocktails bartenders from Brooklyn and Manhattan went head to head in a cocktail competition featuring Great King Street, Compass Box Whisky’s versatile new blended range which challenges old school thinking that the only way to enjoy Scotch is sipping it neat from a rocks glass.

The deliciously diverse variety of recipes presented in the competition – such as Abigail Gullo’s cocktail the “Charlie Hustle” which incorporated rosemary-infused maple syrup, and Max Messier’s cocktail “Red Skies at Night” which included the use of winter spiced chai concentrate – demonstrated that the blend is indeed the most versatile style of Scotch whisky.

Compass Box Whisky company founder John Glaser once again defies traditional thinking about whisky; eschewing the thought that it should be drunk on its own. He fittingly named Great King Street for a street in New Town Edinburgh, Scotland whose Georgian neo-classical architecture expresses the Enlightenment thinking of the late 1700’s and 1800’s and continues to encourage enlightened spirit lovers to indulge in the “rebirth of the blend.”

On January 23rd, at the Great King Street Cocktail at Edible Manhattan & Brooklyn and Compass Box Competition Whisky Bar Tender Competition, the local bartenders appearing on the competition’s stage did just that.

The winners of the competition were John McCarthy, whose cocktail “The McQueen,” comprised of NYC house blended orange bitters and Mexican chocolate bitters, and Anthony Sferra whose blend, “The Tinderbox,” incorporated Brooklyn-owned and made A.B. Smeby’s Highland Heather bitters.

See their winning recipes below.

The McQueen (John McCarthy, Mary Queen of Scots)

Photo by Clay Williams. Courtesy of Compass Box Whisky.

1 oz Great King Street
1 dash NYC house blended orange bitters
1 dash Mexican chocolate bitters
½ oz dark agave syrup
1 oz Fidencio Classico Mezcal

Stir ingredients and strain into a coupe rinsed with The Peat Monster. Garnish with a flamed grapefruit twist.

The Tinderbox (Anthony Sferra, Buttermilk Channel)

Photo by Clay Williams. Courtesy Compass Box Whisky

1 ¼ oz Great King Street
¾ oz Peat Monster
1 cube demerara sugar
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash A.B Smemby’s Highland Heather bitters (Brooklyn-owned and made)

Build in rocks glass. Muddle sugar and bitters in bottom of glass. Tilt glass at a 45-degree angle and gently roll through the hands, coating the sides of the glass evenly with sugar/bitters crystals. Add molded ice cube (preferably a sphere of Okamoto ice), stir gently. Garnish with flamed orange twist and serve.

Photo by Clay Williams. Courtesy of Compass Box Whisky.