Introducing the Winners of the Great King Street Cocktail Competition

I had a blast Tuesday night judging the Great King Street Cocktail Competition. Faithful readers will remember we asked local drinks pros to submit seasonal cocktail recipes made with the new Scotch blend from Compass Box, designed precisely for such muddling and mixing.

Of the three judges, I was definitely the moron; the other two think about drinks for a living. Patrick Watson, co-owner of Brooklyn’s beloved drinks destinations Smith & Vine and Jake Walk, combines a heart of gold with an eagle eye, and didn’t miss a single mismeasured jigger. Greg Seider, who owns the Summit Bar in the East Village, was named best mixologist in New York and once worked as a nude body double for Paul Newman (seriously) could pick apart an imperfect ice pack and a mediocre zesting effort from twenty paces.

We drank ten cocktails, five from Manhattan and five from Brooklyn, and carefully considered multiple weighted qualities, from execution to balance. (Thank god no one was evaluating my balance as the night wore on.)

After swilling and squabbling, we crowned a winner from each side of the East River. Manhattan’s champion, John McCarthy from Mary Queen of Scots, won us with his The McQueen, aka the “Smoky Smoke Smoke,” which includes Peat Monster, house-smoked honey and mezcal. Smokin indeed.

Brooklyn competition was serious–Abigail Gullo of Fort Defiance was a favorite—but Anthony Sferra of Buttermilk Channel took the boro gold with more embers: his beautifully smoky drink the Tinderbox. It was hands-down my favorite drink of the night, though truth be told, what I’d rather drink straight Peat Monster. Luckily I scored a bottle on my way out. Neat!

Winners get their mugs in the next issue of Edible. Glory be.

Betsy Bradley

Elizabeth L. Bradley writes about New York City history and culture. She hopes to find Tiffany blue dragees in her Christmas stocking this year.

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