Edinburgh bartender has Southern spirit

AN Edinburgh bartender emerged victorious at the 2017 Southern Showdown Competition.

Nicole Sykes saw off competition from five other bartenders.

Nicole Sykes, of The Voyage of Buck, in Edinburgh, beat five bartenders from other parts of the UK to take first place.

Whittled down from 150 cocktail entries to six regional finalists, all six bartenders were challenged to create a Southern Comfort cocktail, which took inspiration from New Orleans and ‘the cocktails that the city is famous for’.

Nicole’s winning creation, dubbed ‘Off the Cuff’, is a twist on the classic Vieux Carré which was created in 1938 by bartender Walter Bergeron.

Commenting on her win, Nicole said: “I’m delighted to have won against some very strong contenders.

“My cocktail is inspired by the French Quarter nightlife and laid-back lifestyle in the city – and the name, Off the Cuff, comes from the original name of Southern Comfort, Cuffs and Buttons.”

Each finalist has bagged a VIP trip to New Orleans, courtesy of Southern Comfort’s parent firm Sazerac.

Nicole said: “I haven’t been to New Orleans before, so I’m very excited.”

Commenting on the cocktail competition, Amanda McLeod, marketing director of Hi-Spirits, which distributes Southern Comfort in the UK, said: “It’s great to see the bartending community come together and celebrate Southern Comfort being taken back to its roots.

“The standard of entries to our cocktail competition this year was outstanding and we know the judges had a tough job picking the winners.”