The Mixology Talk Podcast, Episode Ninety Six

Go behind the scenes of the competition, hear about how Kala prepared, how the competition went, and her advice for bartenders entering their own competitions.

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In today’s Episode…

Chris had the chance to connect with one of our readers who recently competed in the Woodford Reserve cocktail competition. She offered to share her experience and insights with us on the podcast.

Kala’s Cocktails:

Fire and Spice

A post shared by Kala Ellis (@kadellis) on

The goal with Fire and Spice was to honor the great tradition of the classic Manhattan while bringing some unique flavors to the table. The name, inspired by a Robert Frost poem, points to the touch of heat coming from the delicious Ancho Reyes, a spirit made from dried chili peppers, and the strong influence of spices combined in order to accent Woodford Reserve in an entirely new way. Every spirit in this cocktail is designed to stand out but still play together in a balanced way.

Notes of cherry, orange, and vanilla sing out while a small spicy kick sneaks in and lingers on the finish. The flavors remind me of growing up in Arizona, where the ice cream truck that daily visited our neighborhood served us these sticky, bittersweet Mexican lollipops made from tamarind and chilies. I enjoyed giving this memory new life in the form of this savory, velvety cocktail.

  • 2 parts Woodford Reserve
  • 1/2 part Ancho Reyes
  • 1/2 part Cynar
  • 1/2 part Carpano Antica
  • 1-2 Drops Handmade Ancho Chili Bitters
  • 1/3 Dropper Woodford Spiced Cherry Bitters

Stirred, served up in coupe. Garnish with Handmade Ancho Chili Brandied Cherries and Orange Zest

A post shared by Kala Ellis (@kadellis) on

The Gray Ghost cocktail brings two worlds together. One world is that of the “Gray Ghost.” This famous horse in the Kentucky Derby brags 1 loss in a 22 race career and is said to haunt the races still as many of the horses to this day carry his DNA. The other world lies here with me. I live in Franklin, Tennessee, a civil war saturated town that honors its history daily. I work at GRAYS on Main, built 1876 where ghosts are rumored to walk our halls. What brought these Gray Ghosts together? Woodford Double Oak.

The Gray Ghost cocktail tells this story through flavor and smoke. Every ingredient is made to point the imbiber back to Woodford Double Oak. Laird’s Apple Jack Brandy offers a slightly sweet, lighter tone to play with the Double Oak. Brovo Amaro brings out cinnamon spices and an added richness. The Almond Demerara adds a nice viscosity while accenting the notes of almond in the Woodford Double Oak. I smoke the glassware with a Handmade Incense, made from Cardamom, Oak, and Almond Tea over a hand charred slab of oak wood. To round out the smoke, I zest a little orange oil over the top. I think the ghosts would be pleased.

  • 1 1/2 parts Woodford Double Oak
  • 1/2 part Brovo Amaro #1
  • 1/2 part Laird’s Apple Jack
  • 1/8 part Almond Demerera
  • 2 Drops Handmade Cardamom Bitters
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Stirred, served on Ice Sphere. Garnish with Orange Zest and Handmade Incense (Oak powder, Cardamom, and Almond Tea) smoked rocks glass.

Stuff we Mentioned:

Find Kala on Instagram @kadellis, and here’s the link to our cocktail competitions page.

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Thanks for Listening!

… and thanks again for Kala for sharing your story!

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