Mumbai-based mixologist Ernest Mascarenhas has won the Brown-Forman American Whiskey Cocktail Challenge for 2018, with his unique creation 'Virtuoso', a dark-chocolate laced whiskey cocktail.
The win will allow Mascarenhas, a bartender at Taj Land's End in Mumbai, to take a guided tour to the iconic Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, and the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky.
The mixologist said his cocktail was inspired by Jasper Newton 'Jack' Daniel, who founded Gentleman Jack, a rare whiskey.
"Virtuoso means passion and skill. I am inspired by Gentleman Jack which is a rare whiskey and its founder, Jasper Newton 'Jack' Daniel, who was a passionate and skilled man," he said.
The recipe was perfected by him over two days.
Even as he hopes to work abroad one day, Mascarenhas said he was looking forward to learning more about whiskey making during his trip to the two distilleries.
Now, in its second edition, the annual championship invites bartenders from across India to create signature cocktail recipes with Brown-Forman's premium whiskies - Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel's Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel's Single Barrel.
"We are seeing a growing interest in whiskey cocktails in India and the spurt in craft cocktail bars around us are visible proof of this growing interest.
"We are happy that we could provide a credible platform for these talented mixologists to experiment and create unique recipes using our craft whiskies and showcase them to a wider audience," Vineet Agrawal, Head of Marketing, India Subcontinent and Maldives, Brown-Forman Worldwide LLC, said.
For the finale, held at JW Marriott, Aerocity, here, each participant had to make two cocktails, a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned followed by their signature recipe.
The competition was judged by industry experts Vikram Achanta, CEO and Co-founder of Tulleeho; Rohan Jelkie, Partner Barback Collective and Former Brand Ambassador Moet Hennessy and Vinit Udyavar, Brand Ambassador, Jack Daniel's.