A Muddled Thought

Category: Scotch & Japanese Whisky

Diageo World Class Entry:The Traveling Woodsman

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. A combination of Bulleit Rye, Johnnie Walker Double Black, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Americano and Creole Bitters.

The Traveling Woodsman. A combination of Bulleit Rye, Johnnie Walker Double Black, Meletti Amaro, Cocchi Americano and Creole Bitters.

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

Islay Ah Huh cocktail with featuring Johnnie Walker Double Black.

Recently I was working on a few new whisky cocktails and I decided to grab a bottle of Johnnie Walker Double Black to work with.

What’s the difference between Johnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black you might ask?

In the case of Johnnie Walker Double Black and Johnnie Walker Black, it’s all about the smoke.

Johnnie Walker Black consists of a blend of malt whiskies with a minimum age of 12 years and grain whisky. You take that same formula and add in some whiskies from the Islay region of Scotland, known for peaty and smoky whiskies and you’ve got Johnie Walker Double Black.

Johnnie Walker Double Black
In creating this cocktail I decided to go with Johnnie Walker Double Black as I wanted a smoky component in the cocktail, In using the Johnnie Walker Double Black I also had notes of allspice, nutmeg, apple, tropical fruit and a touch of bitterness to play off.

Inspired by these flavors I wanted to create a scotch based tiki cocktail that could work in winter and also still work in summer. Continuing the concept of tiki, I named this cocktail “Islay ah huh,” which means “Island of Huh” and is a play on the gaelic word ah which translates to of.

Islay Ah Huh

2 oz Johnnie Double Black
1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz Busnel Calvados
1/2 Campari
1/2 oz Demerara syrup
2 Dashes Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Directions: Combine ingredients in shaker tin.Shake with ice. Strain or double strain into coupe or cocktail glass.

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail

Sometimes the origin of a cocktail name has some history behind it–maybe it’s an inside joke or reference to a movie. Perhaps it’s paying homage to the mood the creator of the recipe was in when they put it together for the first time. And then sometimes the inspiration for the name comes from a song. It could be the lyrics that lend themselves to inspiring the naming of a cocktail, or sometimes it could be the mood it puts you and the name of the song itself.

In the case of the Alberto Simmons cocktail it’s the latter. A song by Fishboy, a band based out of Texas, about a character by the name of Alberto Simmons who is plotting to take the world on and build a wormhole along side his brother. It’s a fairly nonsensical but catchy tune. Once I started listening to the song a few times I began to picture an overly energetic person that had an interesting way of looking at life. And for some reason every time I heard the name Alberto Simmons, I thought of tequila and a somewhat out of the box stirred drink that wouldn’t take any prisoners.

I know it’s a stretch, but sometimes inspiration comes in the strangest of ways.

For more information on Fishboy or Alberto Simmons click here

Alberto Simmons

2oz Don Julio Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz Nonino Amaro
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
1/4 oz Lagavulin 16 Year Old Scotch Whisky

2 Dashes Bittermens Xocatl Mole Bitters

Directions:Combine all ingredients in mixing glass. Stir with ice.

Strain over giant cube in rocks glass.

Garnish with Orange twist

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail. A combination of Don Julio Reposado, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica, Lagavulin 16, and Mole Bitters.

The Alberto Simmons Cocktail. A combination of Don Julio Reposado, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica, Lagavulin 16, and Mole Bitters.