Bartenders love a challenge. After all, that’s what they get every single day of their professional lives, never knowing what drink they’ll be asked to make or what strange concoction a customer will ask for. A good bartender has to have a profound knowledge of everything on the bar along with a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen when he or she mixes A with B. And a good bartender has to think fast.
That’s why a “rogue” competition is so exciting to bartenders, and why they come out in enthusiastic droves to both compete and kibitz.
Jabriel Donohue, “Drambassador” for Drambuie, got together with Brandon Josie at RiffleNW in the Pearl District to throw a Drambuie Rogue Cocktail Competition and the first ten bartenders quickly put their names in. The Riffle NW bar was packed to overflowing long before the competition began; it looked like the majority of bartenders who weren’t pulling a shift were in attendance and ready to cheer on their favorites.
The hosts, Jabriel and Brandon, laid down the "rogue rules" just before competition began. First, of course, Drambuie had to be both a major portion and a major focus of the drink (D’OH!). Second, you could use anything on the Riffle Bar (which happens to be an exceptionally well stocked bar, by the way), and third, you should incorporate the surprise three ingredients in your recipe: salt, Bundaberg Ginger Beer, and Fernet Branca. Finally, when called each contestant had a precise amount of time to create their competitive cocktail.
That said, the competition began, and some engaging and wildly creative cocktails were generated.