For the past two years I’ve been privileged enough to participate in Diageo’s World Class competition here in the United States. The competition has continued to grow larger and more intense each year. The first year you had to submit a video of yourself making a cocktail featuring one of Diageo’s brands, and there was a 1-day competition for 20 lucky competitors. The second year you had to complete several online tests, submit a cocktail again highlighting one of Diageo’s brands and submit a video explaining why you loved bartending and it was two days of challenges that challenged all your skills, your ability to think your feet and your creativity. This is the third year that Diageo has held its World Class competition in the United States and they’ve changed up the game a bit. In addition to completing several learning modules on brand categories such as bourbon and scotch, vodka and gin, tequila and rum, you are also asked to review modules hosted by the 2012 winner Ricky Gomez on hospitality and creating a memorable guest experience as well as reviewing online modules presented by Jeff Bell (of PDT), the 2013 US World Class Winner that covers speed, planning out the most efficient way to make a round of drinks, and setting up your station as efficiently as possible. After all these modules there are several online quizzes to complete. Once this is done you are then asked to submit a cocktail featuring a minimum of one of Diageo’s Reserve brands which include Bulleit Rye and Bourbon, the Johnnie Walker family of scotch whiskies, Ketel One Vodka, Ron Zacapa Rum, Ciroc Vodka and Tanqueray Ten. In addition to creating a cocktail featuring at least one of these brands, you also had to provide the reasons why you felt your cocktail was World Class.
I’ve found in my experience that if there is a story or a bit of interesting knowledge tied to a cocktail it makes for an even more memorable imbibing experience. With that idea in mind I created the “Traveling Woodsman”.
The inspiration behind the name of this cocktail is the story of the spirits themselves. The base of the Traveling Woodsman is split between Bulleit Rye and Johnnie Walker Double Black, two spirits that are both aged in American Oak. In the case of the Bulliet Rye, new unused American oak is utilized to age the rye. In the case of Johnnie Walker Double Black, which is a blended whisky, American oak barrels that were previously used to age American whiskey are re-purposed to age scotch. The story of how a barrel can be used first to age one spirit in America and then re-used to age another spirit in Scotland gave me the idea behind the name of this cocktail.
The Traveling Woodsman
1oz Bulleit Rye
1 oz Johnnie Walker Double Black
1/2 oz Meletti Amaro
1/2 oz Cocchi Americano
2 Dashes Bitter Truth Creole Bitters
Directions:Combine Ingredients in mixing glass. Stir with ice.
Strain into coupe.
Garnish with Grapefruit Twist