Blind Tastings – Jockeying for Cocktail Supremecy at The Deighton Cup

Attending The Deighton Cup was an awesome experience – and not just for the fashion and the horses. There was also bourbon!

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I dropped by the Jockey Lounge on the roof of Hastings Racecourse to check out the 2nd Annual Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition, presented by Bulleit Bourbon, and was shaken and stirred by the creativity and talent of some of the best mixologists in Vancouver as they created their own versions of an Old Fashioned.

Here are just a few of the cocktail jockeys in action, and their drinks.

First up, last year’s winner Sean McGuigan of The Clough Club and his Deighton’s Landing – marrying Bulleit Bourbon with Douglas Fir liquer and essence.

The Clough Club's Seam McGuigan was the first winner of the Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition

The Clough Club’s Seam McGuigan was the first winner of the Cocktail Jockey Mixology Competition in 2013

The Deighton's Landing

The Deighton’s Landing

Inspired by the railway workers who helped connect this country from coast to coast, Buck Friend from Bambudda Gastown introduced his Chinaman in Kentucky creation – a visually stunning cocktail incorporating the signature bourbon, house-made limoncello and his own Asian bitters.

Buck Friend of Bambudda creates his Asian-inspired cocktail

Buck Friend of Bambudda creates his Asian-inspired cocktail

The finished Chinaman in Kentucky cocktail

The finished Chinaman in Kentucky cocktail

Julia Diakow from Reflections in the historic Rosewood Hotel Georgia presented the Ring of Fire – a cocktail combining the Bulleit Bourbon, blueberry oleo saccharum, bitters and her own Scrappy Firewater tincture. It was as much fun to watch it being made as it was to sample!

Julia Diakow made a cocktail that was entertaining to watch - and sample

Julia Diakow made a cocktail that was entertaining to watch – and sample

The Beauregard

The Ring of Fire

And after many more contenders and concoctions I wasn’t able to stay for because I was shooting hats – I returned to see the winner announced and the trophy awarded. Congratulations, Cam Brown from the Blackbird Public House and Oyster Bar, and his Bartender’s Wake-Up!

The winning cocktail - Cam Brown's Bartender's Wake-Up

The winning cocktail – Cam Brown’s Bartender’s Wake Up

Second runner-up Thor Paulson from The Diamond and his Race Day Mounteback cocktail, and first runner-up Amber Bruce from Cuchillo and her Beauregarde creation were also honoured.

As you can see, Cam couldn’t stop smiling – and why not? Not only did he come away with the trophy and bragging rights – but he also pocketed $1,000. And his winning recipe will be featured on bottleneck tags of Bulleit Bourbon in all BC liquor stores.

Not a bad day’s work, even if it was pretty hot in a suit…

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The happy winner!

Cam was joined by the Competition’s top-tier judges – Jay Jones, Director of Wine and Beverage Canucks Sports and EntertainmentMark Brand, Hospitality Impressario; Dani Tartarin, Bar ManagerThe Keefer Suites and founder, the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association; Tyson Villeneuve, The Social Concierge and Josh Pape, Wildebeest.

At the end of a long competition, the judges and winner happily pose for a group shot

At the end of a long competition, the judges and winner happily pose for a group shot

As an added treat, I’m able to share Cam Brown’s winning recipe for the Bartender’s Wake Up.Slowly but surely, I’m becoming a cocktail lover. That’s my #EyeOpener from The Deighton Cup!

Bartender’s Wake Up

2 ounces bullet
.25 home made coffee bitters
-375ml JJ Bean East Side Roast cold brew coffee,
Zest of a whole lemon and orange,
Quarter cup devil’s root.
Vacuum-sealed and sous vide for 1.5 hours at 70 degrees.

1 vanilla infused sugar cubes.
– seal vanilla bean and sugar cubes in a vessel for 2 weeks

Stirred and served on the rocks in a stemmed cocktail glass.

Garnished with an orange zest and sprayed with lemon oil but discard the peel

Cheers!