2012 Official Cocktail Competition: Create Your Truly Old Fashioned


Tales of the Cocktail invites you to submit a winning recipe for the Official Cocktail Competition of the 10th Annual Tales of the Cocktail! 

For our tenth anniversary, we are shaking things up with our annual cocktail competition. If you think your skills are up to the challenge, we would like you to create an Old Fashioned that we can use as our official cocktail at this year’s event.

By definition the Old Fashioned can be made with any spirit. The cocktail is essentially referencing making the cocktail in an “old fashioned” way or by using the original definition of a cocktail: any spirit, sugar, water and bitters.

For the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail official cocktail competition, we invite you to create an original Old Fashioned drink using the original basic ingredients as your template.

Robert Hess, American Cocktail expert, states, “using the “definition” of the cocktail is a good model for this, which also provides a lot of flexibility.”

•                Spirit: Any spirit with at least 40% alcohol content

•                Sugar: Any type of sweetener (eg. Sugar, honey, cordial, flavored syrup, etc.)

•                Water: Could be just through ice melt-age, or as added ingredient. Can be flavored or otherwise not “straight” water.

•                Bitters: Any bitters that are easily available

•                Garnish or Fruit: Can be muddled if contestant chooses to do so

Obviously the ancillary ingredients that you choose to work with are going to dictate which spirit you use. This is paramount when creating any Old Fashioned cocktail. I want you to be extremely cognizant of pairing the ingredients you choose to work with the botanicals of your chosen spirit.

While we invite inventiveness and creativity, drinks must also be delicious. Sounds odd, but how many “cerebral” cocktails have we all had which “read well” on paper, but far too often, just aren’t very good?

Criteria to keep in mind:

•                Drink must be delicious

•                Can you actually finish it?

•                Is it delicious enough to re-order?

•                Drink should stay true to the overall concept of an Old Fashioned


Let the games begin!



  1. Competition is open to any bartender currently working in the bar, restaurant or spirits industry.
  2. Each participant shall use the official entry form posted below
  3. All recipes shall be original creations.
  4. Recipes shall be expressed in ounces, drops, or dashes and scaled for a single serving.
  5. Your cocktail must utilize at least one of the sponsor spirit brands.
  6. All ingredients utilized should be expected to be available to most bars or easily acquired/made.
  7. All ingredients should be available year-round, so nothing seasonal. And all ingredients should be obtainable — or should be able to be                 made from scratch — without undue difficulty or expense anywhere within the continental US.
  8. Cocktails made with inappropriate ingredients will be disqualified with determination of what constitutes an inappropriate ingredient up to the discretion of the staff of Tales of the Cocktail and the judging committee.
  9. Cocktails will be judged on Originality, Use of product, Taste, and Presentation.
  10. You do not need to be present to compete or win.
  11. First prize winner will receive $1,250 cash and be the “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail 2012
  12. Winning recipes will be featured with photography in the Mutineer Magazine and Mutineer online publication
  13. Winning recipe will be featured in the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail E-book
  14. Winning recipe will be featured at www.TalesoftheCocktail.com and at Tales of the Cocktail 2012

Sponsor Products:

42Below Vodka, 
Angostura Bitters, Bacardi 8, 
Bad Dog Bar Craft Bitters, 
Balvenie 14 Year Caribbean Cask, 
Banks 5 Island Rum,
 Bitter End Bitters,
Blackbull Blended Scotch Whisky, 
Black Velvet Reserve 8-year Aged Whisky, 
Bols Genever, Bootlegger 21 New York Vodka, 
Breckenridge Bitters, 
Breckenridge Bourbon, 
Breckenridge Vodka,
 Buffalo Trace Bourbon, 
Bulleit Bourbon, 
Bulleit Rye, 
Chinaco Tequila, Citadelle Gin, 
Corsair Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey, 
Cutty Sark Blended Scotch Whisky, 
Del Maguey Mezcal (Chichicapa, Vida, Santo Domingo Albarradas and Pechuga), 
Don Julio Tequila, 
Don Q Gran Anejo
Dos Maderas Rum (featuring 5+3, PX and Luxus),
 El Dorado Rum,
Excellia Tequila,
Fee Brothers,
Four Roses Bourbon,
G’Vine Gin,
George Dickel No. 12, 
Glace Luxury Ice, 
Hirsch Selection Whiskies, 
Hirsch Small Batch Bourbon,
 Hudson Whiskies, 
Laird’s Applejack 7 & 12 year old, 
Lounge Attire Premium Cocktail Cranberries, 
Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, 
Luxardo Marsca Cherries, 
Metaxa 5 Star
Mount Gay Rum, 
Nonino Amaro, 
Oxley Gin, 
Partida 100% Organic Agave Nectar, 
Partida Tequila (Blanco, Reposado, Anjeo), 
Perfect Puree (Meyer Lemon Concentrate, Key Lime Concentrate and Mandarin/Tangerine Concentrate), 
Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, 
Prohibition Distillery, 
Purrus Vodka, 
Redemption High Rye Bourbon, 
Redemption Rye, 
Sazerac Rye, 
Scrappy’s Bitters, 
Slow and Low Rye, 
St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Tanqueray Gin, 
Truvia® natural sweetener, 
Zacapa Rum, 
Zaya Rum

Cocktail Competition Timeline:

March 25th 2012

Deadline to submit your Cocktail Competition Recipe

Early Spring 2012

Judges review entries and are narrowed down to 10 finalists.

Judges are Robert Hess, Chris McMillan and David Wondrich.

Winners announced