Woodford Reserve introduces its inaugural cocktail competition, The Wonderful Race 2023, in Asia, coinciding with the Old Fashioned Month. This initiative draws inspiration from the concept of Old Fashioned Week, initially established in Paris in 2015.
Throughout the entire month of October, selected bartenders showcased their unique twists on the Old Fashioned cocktail in their respective bars, providing patrons with the opportunity to savour these innovative creations.
Modernised classic with an Asian Twist
The competition was open to bartenders from five markets where Woodford Reserve bourbon is distributed, namely China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. Bartenders were tasked with submitting a 2-minute video in September, showcasing their reinterpretation of this classic cocktail. The programme aimed to celebrate Asian flavours while embracing the region's burgeoning bartending culture, adding a contemporary touch to the timeless drink.
The Old Fashioned cocktail, believed to have gained prominence through James E. Pepper, a bartender and distillery owner, is an integral part of The Woodford Reserve Bourbon legacy, which was introduced to the market in 1996. Comprising bourbon or rye whiskey, sugar, bitters, and fruits, it is traditionally served in a glass named after the drink, originally referred to as a whiskey cocktail and now commonly known as a rocks glass.
The Kentucky origin
Drawing inspiration from the famed Kentucky Derby, The Wonderful Race pays homage to this iconic horse race that commenced in 1872, where Woodford Reserve has long served as the headline sponsor.
The winners from each participating country in The Wonderful Race will earn a coveted trip to Kentucky, providing them with the exclusive opportunity to meet the master distillers, Chris Morris and Elizabeth McCall, along with the team behind the esteemed bourbon brand.
The five winning bartenders
The revelation of winners will occur in stages, commencing with Singapore. Raz Ng from the renowned rum bar, Sugarhall, secured the first country champion title in Asia with her signature cocktail, "Not Too Conventional." Raz’s interpretation of the modernised Old Fashioned features Woodford Reserve bourbon, reposado tequila, pickled jalapeño, red cheddar, spices, and wagyu fat sourced from Sugarhall’s affiliated restaurant, Rosemead.
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