Shane Groarke of Cask bar in Cork has won the Southern Comfort Southern Showdown 2018 cocktail contest, following a final which put 11 of Ireland’s top bartenders through their paces.
Groarke will now compete against Southern Showdown winners from the UK and Australia in July at the international final in New Orleans, birthplace of Southern Comfort. He will be joined on the New Orleans trip, which coincides with the annual Tales of the Cocktail event, by second placed finalist Pat Thomas of Zozimous, Dublin.
Groarke’s winning cocktail was named the “None Genuine But Mine,” echoing the slogan of Southern Comfort creator M.W. Heron. Along with Southern Comfort, the recipe celebrates Cork with ingredients such as Killahoura ice wine, woodruff infused poitin, bog oak flavoured bitters and a sweet cicely garnish.
The final was held at the Chelsea Drugstore cocktail bar in Dublin. Chelsea Drugstore bar manager David RS Guerrero, the 2017 Ireland Southern Showdown winner, was joined on the judging panel by George Roberts, country manager for Southern Comfort distributor Hi-Spirits Ireland, and Christian Tirel, Southern Comfort brand ambassador and the 2016 Southern Showdown UK Winner.
Roberts commented, “All the finalists demonstrated great flair, knowledge and imagination, prompting some lively debate amongst the judges, but we agreed that Shane gave the best all-round performance, from his product knowledge and presentation right through to serving a great cocktail.”
Meanwhile, Groarke asserted, "I'm absolutely ecstatic that I get to compete in New Orleans, the home of Tales of the Cocktail, and some of the greatest minds in the industry. As they say in New Orleans, 'laissez les bon temps rouler' – let the good times roll!"
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.