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Woodford Reserve’s Bourbon Trail: In search of SA’s best Old Fashioned

In association with International Old Fashioned Week, Woodford Reserve, the world’s top-selling super-premium bourbon, will join the movement in South Africa with the 5th annual Woodford Bourbon Trail campaign in search of South Africa’s best Old-Fashioned cocktail bar.

International Old-Fashioned Week is the annual global celebration for bartenders and discerning consumers who appreciate a well-crafted drink. Globally over 1,300 bars in 60 countries will put their spin on the Old Fashioned cocktail.

The Woodford Bourbon Trail will kick off in the month of November to celebrate the father of all cocktails. From 1-30 November forty participating bars and bartenders in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban will put down their cocktail shakers and pick up their mixing spoons to create their best rendition of an Old-Fashioned cocktail.

The bar competition kicks off on the 1st of November with the expert assistance of South African Brand Mixologists Marson Strydom and Joshua Garthwaite, with the final judging taking place in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

The regional winners will go head to head in a national Woodford Bourbon Brawl finale event, hosted in Johannesburg at the end of November. “At the finale bar brawl, the most classic, innovative, original, premium or daringly different Old-Fashioned cocktails will be judged and see the winner taking home the National Old-Fashioned Bartender of the Year award,” says Marson Strydom, Brand Mixologist at Woodford Reserve.

He adds that in South Africa, the Woodford Bourbon Trail campaign will include an opportunity for consumers to join the journey. “Bourbon enthusiasts can go to any participating bar, get a map and join the Bourbon Trail and try out each of the venues Old Fashioned cocktails where the map will be stamped with an opportunity to discover where the spirit will take them.”

Woodford Reserve is a super-premium, craft bourbon following the traditional method of distillation to produce bourbon of exceptional quality. The art of making fine bourbon first took place at Woodford Reserve in 1780, making the distillery one of Kentucky’s oldest and smallest today.

“Woodford is particularly suited to the Old Fashioned, a classic American bourbon cocktail steeped in history,” Strydom adds. “The recipe is said to have been invented by a bartender in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky, in honour of a prominent bourbon distiller who brought it to the internationally acclaimed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.”

“Bourbon has seen a boom in South Africa over the last few years and each year the competition continues to grow,” he adds. “Woodford Reserve is pioneering a new path for their beverages with the partnership with international Old-Fashioned Week and continues to grow from strength to strength.”

Awaken your senses and embark on a journey to discover the Woodford Bourbon Trail.

Participating Bars in Cape Town include: Cause Effect, Orphanage, Café Caprice, Burger & Lobster, HQ, Harringtons, Souk, Bascule, Silo Hotel, Vixi, Athletics Club, Iron Steak and Bar, Gorgeous George, Coco Safar, Village Idiot and the 12 Apostles.

Participating bars in Johannesburg include Marbie Club, Little Fox, Saint, Truffles, Smokin Kills, Anti Social, Shucked, Tonic Linden, Epicure, Landmark, Sin & Tax, Streetbar Named Desire and Marble.

In Durban you can get down to Charlatan, Lucky Shaker Umhlanga, The Chefs Table, 14 on Chartwell and The Chairman and discover the spirit of Bourbon.

Watch the video below to find out how to make your own Old Fashioned.

Ingredients Method
50ml Woodford Reserve Distillers Select

1 tsp brown sugar

2 dashes bitters

orange zest (for garnish)

Add ingredients to a mixing glass

Add ice to mixing glass and serving glass

Stir ingredients for 30-40 seconds

Strain into serving glass

Garnish with a lightly expressed orange peel.


Join in the conversation #WoodfordReserve #BourbonTrailSA or visit:

Not for sale to persons under the age of 18. Craft carefully drink responsibly.


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