Congratulations to Shawn Cox of Rejiggered—winner of the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition! His Bronze Autumn cocktail took first place and as a grand prize, he will receive a bottle of his favorite hard-to-find spirit.
Special recognition should also be made for Lance Mayhew, who took second place, and Cheri Loughlin, Ted Munat, and Darcy O’Neil, whose drinks all landed them in the top five.
Thank you to everyone who participated. The competition was intense and some truly delicious drinks were created. Now, what are you waiting for? Raise a glass and toast the winner & keep all these recipes in mind during the holiday season.
Continue reading for the official press release:
PURCHASE, N.Y. (November 24, 2008)—Hiram Walker, the classic, diverse line of schnapps, liqueurs, and brandies, recently asked the top bloggers in the cocktail world to compete in an exclusive mixology contest using the newest addition to the Hiram Walker product line—Gingerbread Liqueur. Designed for “bloggers only” the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition took place this month and saw a bevy of creative and unique submissions from more than a dozen influential cocktail bloggers.
Darcy O’Neil of Art of Drink, Gabriel Szaszko of Cocktailnerd, and Camper English of Alcademics joined thirteen others in a virtual mix-off to find the best-tasting Gingerbread cocktail in the blog world. Participants expressed excitement at the opportunity to take-on a challenge and partake in a little friendly competition among their colleagues. Still, all who competed had their eyes on the top prize—a bottle of the winner’s favorite hard-to-find spirit.
To vie for that award, contestants had to craft an original seasonal cocktail featuring Hiram Walker’s Gingerbread Liqueur. Released earlier this year, the Gingerbread Liqueur has a beautiful rich, nutmeg color and offers a sweet ‘n’ spicy brown sugar, ginger, vanilla and spice flavor that’s ideal for mixing with a variety of spirits. The participants were given a week to shake, swizzle, and stir with the Gingerbread Liqueur before serving up their official drink entries for judging.
Though eager to take part in the cocktail competition, some bloggers were a bit skeptical, at first, about working with the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur.
“Hiram Walker is not a brand that I usually use,” wrote Lance Mayhew on his blog, My Life on the Rocks. “I’ve always considered it a middle-of-the-road brand, more fit for your neighborhood tavern or college bar than a good craft bar.”
But after tasting and mixing with Hiram Walker’s Gingerbread Liqueur, Mayhew posted a detailed review of the product on his blog and mentioned he was “pleasantly surprised,” saying it offered “a better and fresher flavor profile than I imagined.”
That “pleasant surprise” is just the reaction Cort Kinker, brand director for Hiram Walker at Pernod Ricard USA was hoping for.
“Our new Gingerbread Liqueur is a quality product that’s ideal for mixing in seasonal cocktails, especially when put in the capable hands of these cocktail experts,” said Kinker. “We’re excited to have had the opportunity to work with these cocktail bloggers and are truly impressed with the results of the contest.”
With submissions from some of the most talented and creative mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts on the web, it was difficult for Mark Vaughan, editor and publisher of Santé Magazine, to pick a winning recipe. Thankfully, he had help from his staff: Rob Costantino (managing editor), Ashley Brenon (senior editor), Emily Gold (associate editor), and Chris Costello (co-publisher).
At the end of the day, simple ingredients and a great tasting cocktail beat out the more complex and eccentric drink entries, as Shawn Cox of Rejiggered took top honors with his Bronze Autumn Cocktail.
The Bronze Autumn Cocktail by Shawn Cox :
2 parts apple vodka
1 part Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
splash dry champagne
Shake the apple vodka and Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur together with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with champagne and garnish with an apple slice.
After crafting eight different potential cocktail entries with the Gingerbread Liqueur, Cox says he was “tempted by other complex and decadent creations, but in the end the simplicity and complementary flavors won the day.”
Honorable mention must be given to Lance Mayhew, whose November Rain Cocktail was a close second. Mayhew’s submission matched Rye whiskey and a touch of orange bitters with the spiciness of the Gingerbread Liqueur.
November Rain by Lance J. Mayhew:
3 parts Rittenhouse 100 proof rye whiskey
1 parts Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
3 dashes Regans Orange Bitters
Chill, serve up with an orange twist.
Rounding out the top five were Cheri Loughlin of The Intoxicologist with her Mexican Café de Jengibre, Ted Munat of Le Mixeur and his Grandaddy Howe, and Darcy O’Neil of Art of Drink with his Fameuse Cocktail.
Mexican Café de Jengibre by Cheri Loughlin:
1-1/2 parts Anejo Tequila
1/2 part Kahlua Especial
1 part Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
1/2 part Half & Half
Build in a rocks or old-fashioned glass over ice. Stir. No garnish.
Granddaddy Howe by Ted Munat:
1 part bourbon
2 parts ruby port
1/2 part Gingerbread Liqueur
1/2 part Cherry Heering
1 whole egg
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake ingredients for about 15 seconds. Add ice and shake for about 10 more seconds. Strain into a goblet and grate fresh nutmeg over the top.
Fameuse Cocktail by Darcy O’Neil:
1 part Bourbon
½ part Gingerbread Liqueur
½ part Jerez Fino Sherry
3 parts Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
In a double old fashioned glass packed with ice, add all of the ingredients and stir until chilled. Garnish with an apple slice. This drink can also be served warm, but I prefer it chilled. It’s versatile.