Shane Groarke of Cask bar in Cork has won the Southern Comfort Southern Showdown 2018 cocktail contest, after the competition final which put 11 of Ireland’s top bartenders through their paces.

Shane will now go on to compete against Southern Showdown winners from the UK and Australia in July at the international final in New Orleans, birthplace of Southern Comfort. He will be joined on the trip, which coincides with the annual Tales of the Cocktail event, by second placed finalist Pat Thomas of Zozimus in Dublin.

With the Southern Showdown now in its second year in Ireland, bartenders were challenged to recreate the spirit of their home town in a cocktail, just as Southern Comfort captures the spirit of New Orleans. Cocktails had 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.

Shane’s winning cocktail was named the “None Genuine But Mine,” echoing the slogan of Southern Comfort creator M.W. Heron, which still appears on every bottle. Along with Southern Comfort, the recipe celebrates Cork with ingredients including Killahoura ice wine, woodruff infused poiti­n, bog oak flavoured bitters and a sweet cicely garnish.

The competition final was held at the Chelsea Drugstore cocktail bar in Dublin. Chelsea Drugstore bar manager David RS Guerrero, the 2017 Ireland Southern Showdown winner, was joined on the judging panel by George Roberts, Country Manager for Southern Comfort distributor Hi-Spirits Ireland, and Christian Tirel, Southern Comfort Brand Ambassador and the 2016 Southern Showdown UK Winner.

George Roberts commented “All the finalists demonstrated great flair, knowledge and imagination, prompting some lively debate amongst the judges, but we agreed that Shane gave the best all-round performance, from his product knowledge and presentation right through to serving a great cocktail.”

Recipe: None Genuine But Mine – Created by Shane Groarke of Cask

  • 35ml Southern Comfort

  • 15ml Longueville Apple Brandy

  • 10ml Killahoura Ice Wine

  • 5ml Woodruff infused poiti­n

  • 2 dashes homemade bog oak bitters

  • Southern Comfort 100 Proof sweet cicely tincture rinse

  • Serve in a Nick and Nora Coupette, and garnish with sweet cicely