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The winning spirits have been announced for the inaugural Ultimate Cocktail Challenge (UCC), held on April 12-14 at New York’s Astor Center. The competition was presented by Ultimate Beverage Challenge, a New York-based beverage competitions and events company founded by Judging Chairman F. Paul Pacult. Following on the Ultimate Spirits Challenge held earlier this year, the UCC assessed how well spirits performed in classic cocktails.

Judges included renowned mixology luminaries Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Julie Reiner, Steve Olson, Audrey Saunders, Tad Carducci, Doug Frost, Andy Seymour, Don Lee, Jim Meehan and Sean Ludford, UCC’s Assistant Judging Chairman. The cocktails were mixed by specially selected bartenders, who meticulously followed specific recipes chosen by Pacult and UCC advisors DeGroff and Wondrich. The identical recipe was used for each cocktail and all were carefully measured using jiggers. The judges (who were unaware of the identity of any of the entered spirits) evaluated how, for example, different gins performed in classic cocktails such as the Martini, the Gin & Tonic and more. Spirits were judged on a 100-point rating system in multiple rounds. The highest scoring spirit in each cocktail was awarded the UCC Chairman’s Trophy.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the winning spirits listed below were awarded the Chairman’s Trophy. Spirits shown with Judges Accolades were the highest scoring for that cocktail, but were not awarded a Chairman’s Trophy.

For the complete list of results, go to ultimate-beverage.com/UCC2010-results.

2010 Ultimate Cocktail Challenge Winners

GIN & GENEVER

VODKA & AQUAVIT

TEQUILA & MEZCAL

RUM & CACHAÇA

COGNAC/BRANDY

WHISKY – SCOTCH

WHISK(E)Y – NORTH AMERICA

CHAMPAGNE, PROSECCO & SPARKLING

  • Bellini – Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc California Sparkling Wine (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • Champagne Cocktail – Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc California Sparkling Wine (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • French 75 – Piper Sonoma Brut California Sparkling Wine (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • Kir Royale – Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blanc California Sparkling Wine (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)

WINE, VERMOUTH, PORT & SHERRY

  • Claret Lemonade – Jam Jar (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • Port Cobbler – Sandeman Founders Reserve Port (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • Port Whiskey Punch – Sandeman Founders Reserve Port (Very Good, Strong Recommendation)
  • Sherry Cobbler – Sandeman Don Fino Sherry (Excellent, Highly Recommended)

LIQUEURS & ABSINTHE

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