And the Winner of the 2017 U.S. Sherry Cocktail Competition is...
NEW YORK, November 1, 2017: The Sherry Cocktail Competition finals were held on October 30th at Clover Club in Brooklyn, NY, and Sam Johnson of Leyenda in Brooklyn, NY, won the top prize of Best Sherry Cocktail with his cocktail, the Calypso Cobbler!
Johnson competed against some of the top bartenders in America, from 8 states, during a live demonstration and presentation in front of a distinguished panel of judges, which included Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail/author, founding partner of Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR)®, Julie Reiner, proprietor, Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club; David Wondrich, author, cocktail historian, founding partner of Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR)®; Jacques Bezuidenhout, winner of the first Sherry Cocktail Competition in 2005 and partner, Forgery and Wildhawk; Steven Olson, aka maguey geek, and founding partner of BAR®; special guest judge the Director of the Consejo Regulador of the DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda, César Saldaña.
All contestants were indeed winners and deserve recognition by virtue of being selected as finalists in this competition, which was at the highest level in the history of the competition. Each made it through a grueling and highly competitive preliminary judging round that preceded the final competition, and then competed at a level so incredibly high that the winner’s cocktails were separated by the narrowest of margins.
The winners were announced immediately following the competition:
- Best Sherry Cocktail — "Calypso Cobbler" by Sam Johnson, Leyenda, Brooklyn, NY
- First Runner Up — "Sage Ya Later" by Leanne Favre, Mayahuel in New York, NY
- Second Runner Up (a tie!) — "El Periodo Rosa" by Phoebe Esmon, Cúrate in Asheville, NC and "Verano Verde" by Guillermo Bravo, The NoMad Bar in New York, NY
As the champion, Sam Johnson has earned a spot on the highly coveted annual sommelier/chef/bartender journey through Jerez, Spain and a special collection of rare Sherry. As the first runner up, Leanne Favre also earned a spot on the Jerez trip, as well as a partial scholarship to the Beverage Alcohol Resource® 5 Day Advanced Program in New York City. Our tied winners for 2nd runner up, Phoebe Esmon and Guillermo Bravo will receive partial scholarships to Beverage Alcohol Resource® 5 Day Advanced Program.
The other winners / finalists were:
- Anthony Belculfini, Taberna de Haro in Brookline, MA - "The CriaDare" (Manzanilla, Oloroso, Moscatel)
- Gabriela Chan, Forgery in San Francisco, CA - "Shy Smile" (Palo Cortado)
- Suzanne Critchlow, Columbia Room in Washington, DC - "Salted Fino Rickey" (Fino)
- Jesse Cyr, Rob Roy in Seattle, WA - "Look My Way" (Amontillado)
- McLain Hedges, RiNo Yacht Club in Denver, CO - "The Rossonian Standard" (Manzanilla)
- Brendan Town, Bon Ton in Atlanta, GA - "The Old Ward" (Oloroso, Manzanilla, Pedro Ximénez)
Additional photos of the competition and cocktails are available upon request.
For more information, contact Kate Burgess.