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Black Pearl's Matt Linklater wins Woodford Reserve Cocktail Challenge

Black Pearl's Matt Linklater wins Woodford Reserve Cocktail Challenge

Congratulations to Matt Linklater from Melbourne's Black Pearl, who took out the 2017 Woodford Reserve Cocktail Challenge last night.

The finals were held in the iconic Marble Bar in Sydney, with Woodford's Master Taster Elizabeth McCall on hand to celebrate with the finalists. 

The Challenge kicked off in August, with bartenders from across Australia creating their own take on the classic Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned as well as coming up with an original Woodford Reserve Rye cocktail.

The grand prize was a personalised visit to the Woodford Reserve distillery in Kentucky and to New York City to attend the Manhattan Experience.

Linklater created 'Natural Order' (above), featuring Woodford Reserve Rye, pomegranate vinegar, grenadine, White Ale Umeshu, soap bark extract and Limonata.

His co-finalists were Simon Hopkins from Surly's BBQ & Beer, who created the 'Jaffa Manhattan' - rye, Curacao Rosso, chocolate porter beer syrup and chocolate bitters; Vini Wang, who created the 'Appellation' - rye, apple, pear, sugar & clove syrup, egg white and Angostura Bitters; Joshua O'Brien from The Bowery, who created 'Cream of the Crop' - corn, mandarin, sage, rye, Angostura Bitters and black pepper; and James Connolly from Long Chim, who created the 'Old Oscar Pepper" - rye, salted maple syrup, Chambord, raspberry coulis, lemon juice, white pepper and mint. 

drinks bulletin had a fabulous time trying them all and meeting the talented bartenders who mixed them. 

Here are some photos from the night: