Smokestack’s Lee Jones takes Southern Showdown 2018

Jane Ryan

28 May 2018

Leeds-based Lee Jones from Smokestack has won the Southern Comfort Southern Showdown 2018, which was battled on board the Dixie Queen, a New Orleans-style riverboat cruising down London’s Thames.

Jones’ winning cocktail, the Whitesmith Cobbler, was crowned after the six winners of UK regional heats presented their drinks to a panel of industry judges.

The fight isn’t over yet though. Jones will now compete against Southern Showdown winners from Ireland and Australia in July at the international final in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail.

‘The contest involved a lot of hard work, both in creating the cocktail and making it for the judges at the final,’ said Jones. ‘I’m delighted and surprised to have won against such great competition, and looking forward to the international final in New Orleans.’

He won’t be without some home support however, as runners up Sarah Berardi of Draffens, Dundee, who came second, and Thomas Hay-Owens of Seaside Boarding House, Dorset, who placed third will be joining Jones in New Orleans.

Whitesmith Cobbler

By Lee Jones

Glass: Nick & Nora
Garnish: dehydrated lemon
Method: stir over ice and strain.

40ml Southern Comfort 100 Proof

20ml Absentroux herbal wine

20ml gooseberry cordial

1 dash champagne acid

Bartenders this year were challenged to recreate the spirit of their home town in a cocktail, inspired by Southern Comfort’s relationship with New Orleans. Cocktails were required to include the classic 35% abv Southern Comfort Original, the newly launched 40% abv Southern Comfort Black, or the on-trade only 50% abv Southern Comfort 100 Proof.

‘All the finalists showed a huge amount of flair, knowledge and imagination. There was real debate among the judges, but we agreed that Lee gave the best all-round performance, from his product knowledge and presentation right through to serving a great cocktail,’ said Julian De Feral, drinks director of consultancy Gorgeous Group and chair of the judges.

The judges also included Nicole Sykes, the 2017 Southern Showdown winner and bartender at Satan’s Whiskers, and Tom Hodgkiss, national accounts manager with Southern Comfort distributor Hi-Spirits.

Related content


Smokestack's Lee Jones on winning International Southern Comfort Showdown 2018

The good old-fashioned hospitality of the American south is alive and well in the UK, as demonstrated by Smokestack’s Lee Jones at the International S

News |  Spirits & Cocktails

The Southern Showdown winner: Q&A with Nicole Sykes

Last month, Nicole Sykes took home the title in the Southern Comfort Southern Showdown. Representing Scotland and The Voyage of Buck in Edinburgh, she

News |  Spirits & Cocktails

Southern Comfort crowns its Southern Showdown winners

After a rowdy evening aboard the Dixie Queen on the Thames, Southern Comfort has crowned the champion of its Southern Showdown competition


Nicole Sykes takes top spot in Southern Comfort final

The Southern Comfort Southern Showdown took to the Thames yesterday for the UK grand final, with six bartenders from around the country competing aboa