Shane Groarke of the Cask bar in Cork has won the Southern Comfort Southern Showdown 2018 cocktail contest, after a hard-fought final which put 11 of Ireland’s top bartenders through their paces.
Shane 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 and spiritual home of the cocktail. 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.
With the Southern Showdown in its second year in Ireland, bartenders were challenged this year to recreate the spirit of their home town in a cocktail, just as Southern Comfort captures the spirit of New Orleans. Cocktails had to include the classic 35% ABV Southern Comfort Original, the newly launched 40% ABV Southern Comfort Black, or the on-trade only 50% ABV Southern Comfort 100 Proof.
Shane’s winning cocktail was named the “None Genuine But Mine,” echoing the slogan of Southern Comfort creator M.W. Heron which still appears on every bottle. 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.
George Roberts said, “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.”
Shane Groarke said, “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!”
Recipe: None Genuine But Mine – Created by Shane Groarke of Cask
35ml Southern Comfort
15ml Longueville Apple Brandy
10ml Killahoura Ice Wine
5ml Woodruff infused poitin
2 dashes homemade bog oak bitters
Southern Comfort 100 Proof sweet cicely tincture rinse
Serve in a Nik and Nora Coupette, and garnish with Sweet Cicely
The Southern Showdown 2018 Ireland finalists were:
Winner: Shane Groarke, Cask, Cork – None Genuine But Mine
Runner-up: Pat Thomas, Zozimous, Dublin – North Wicklow Punch
Amy Joyce, House, Dublin
Daniel Cronin, Cask, Cork
Dan Fratini, Odeon, Dublin
Frida Andersson, The Liquor Rooms, Dublin
Luke Crowley-Holland, The Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder, Killarney
Sean Whelan of Roberta’s, Dublin
Shane Russell, Lemuel’s, The Conrad Hotel, Dublin
Paul Neligan, The Skeff Late Bar, Galway
Nathan Evans, Mary’s Bar, Derry