Announcing the Manhattan Semi-Finalists in The Great King Street Cocktail Competition

To test 20 drink recipes, tubs of homemade ingredients piled up at The Rum House.

In honor of our current Alcohol Issue, which features a profile of Compass Box Whisky Company founder John GlaserEdible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn recently partnered with the Scotch whisky makers to host the Great King Street Cocktail Competition. Great King Street is a new blend by Compass Box, one named after the Scottish street where the company is registered. Unlike many of Compass Box’s other blends, this one is specifically designed for mixing. So together we asked professional drinks-makers from the two boroughs we cover to create a cocktail made with Great King Street–and at least one seasonally inspired ingredient.

The preliminary round of judging took place last week, and 20 cocktails were made following the recipes provided by contestants at The Rum House by Michael Neff and Kenneth McCoy, co-owners of  that lovely refurbished lounge in the Edison Hotel on 47th Street. Contestants had to tote any unique ingredients to the bar, meaning the place was soon cluttered with a tower of plastic tubs filled with homemade syrups, all kinds of locally sourced liqueurs (sour cherry cordial, ginger mead) and rows and rows of bottles of artisanal bitters from cherry vanilla to highland heather. Many made in Brooklyn, natch.

Using a five point scale to rate the drinks across several categories (which included aroma, creativity and “booze factor,” or whether or not you could taste the Great King Street) 20 concoctions were tasted, evaluated and narrowed down by representatives from both Compass Box and Edible to a list of five semi-finalist drinks from Brooklyn and five semi-finalist drinks from Manhattan. Those are:

The Great King’s Kir, from Marci Noble at Nick and Toni’s Cafe
The Gunsmoke, from Dominic Hoferer at Almond
The King’s Feast, from Jose Torella at The Barclay
The McQueen, from John McCarthy at Mary Queen of Scots
The Newfangled, from Richard Scoffier at Nick and Toni’s Cafe 

Judges kept notes, conferred on final scores and checked their math.

The final competition takes place on Monday, January 23, and one winner from the above will be picked by a panel of three esteemed tasters: Gabrielle Langholtz, the editor in chief of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, Patrick Watson, the owner of Stinky Bklyn, Jakewalk, Smith & Wine and the Brooklyn Wine Exchange, all in Brooklyn, and Greg Seider, an owner of the Summit Bar in the East Village and the creator of Le Bernardin’s new cocktail menu. Over the next few days we hope to post the recipes for these five beauties above, too, so stay tuned if you want to test them out at home.




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