After a rowdy evening aboard the Dixie Queen on the Thames, Southern Comfort has crowned the champions of its Southern Showdown competition.
Yes, that’s right – champions, plural. Adam Day of Wilderness in Manchester wowed the judges and won the title of overall Showdown winner, while Scott Addison of Beast in London snagged the People’s Choice award.
As their prizes, both will get the opportunity to travel with Southern Comfort distributor Hi-Spirits to New Orleans, the birthplace of Southern Comfort, for Tales of the Cocktail in July.
So what did the gruelling competition entail? Other than developing their sea legs, the bartenders had to craft serves that taste great, are easily replicable and tell a story, using either Southern Comfort Original, Black or 100 Proof.
The four finalists – Day, Addison, Dan Crowther of Hedonist in Leeds and Gareth Rees of Fat Bear in London – slung their drinks to the Dixie Queen’s passengers at their very own satellite bars on the boat. The guests then had the opportunity to cast a vote for their favourite cocktail. Meanwhile, a panel of mystery judges were secretly marking the drinks to decide the overall Showdown champion.
Addison’s drink, Black Banana, was a riff on a Banana Daiquiri using Southern Comfort Black and grilled banana syrup, served from a slushee machine. It won the heart of the people thanks to its bold banana flavour, which played nicely with the Southern Comfort Black’s whiskey base.
Day secured the confidence of the mystery judges with his drink Lagniappe, a twist on a Kir with rosé wine, Southern Comfort Original, a blackberry cordial and a floral mist. He served the drink from a wine bottle for a sophisticated touch.
‘Every drink was delicious and it must have been extremely difficult for the judges to choose a winner,’ said Day. ‘I think my drink won because it was a different interpretation, not what you expect from a Southern Comfort cocktail.
‘I called it Lagniappe, which is Creole slang for “baker’s dozen” or "a little something extra". The beauty of batching a drink is that you’re giving guests the luxury of time. They’re not waiting at the bar, they can get a tasty drink straight away and spend that time with friends.’