Minneapolis Bartender Nathaniel Smith Wins National Cocktail Competition

LOUISVILLE, KY - Minneapolis bartender Nathaniel Smith of Spoon and Stable is the winner of the Copper & Kings MIXT&PE Cocktail Competition. The national search challenged mixologists to create an American brandy cocktail inspired by a song of their choice. Smith’s selection of “Little Red Corvette” by beloved Minnesota musician Prince won over the judging panel and earned him a trip to Louisville, Ky. to visit the Copper & Kings American brandy distillery and attend the Forecastle Music Festival. Smith was one of 11 finalists from around the U.S. including bartenders from Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin and Washington D.C.


“Nathaniel’s cocktail was balanced and inventive showing a lot of thought and knowledge of mixology,” said Copper & Kings national brand ambassador Chris Wilkins. “He melded three of our products together for a drink that truly rocks.”

Little Red Corvette cocktail recipe - Nathaniel Smith

His winning cocktail recipe for the “Little Red Corvette” includes:

  • 1 ½ ounces Copper & Kings American Apple Brandy
  • 1 ounce homemade rosé vermouth (see recipe using Copper & Kings Immature Brandy)
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¾ ounce housemade grenadine
  • 5 drops housemade apple bitters (using Copper & Kings Un-Aged Apple Brandy as base)

In a shaker tin, combine apple brandy, vermouth, lime juice, grenadine and apple bitters. Add ice and shake. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with apple slice.

Combine in shaker tin, add ice, shake. Pour into chilled cocktail glass.

To make rosé vermouth: Steep 1 pound fresh, hulled strawberries in 2½ cups of Copper & Kings Immature Brandy for two days. Strain. Caramelize 3 cups of sugar and cool. Add strawberry steeped brandy and heat. Cool. In a second pot, combine 3 cups of Spanish garnacha rosé wine with fresh rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme with ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, dried wormwood, gentian and powdered ginger. Boil for 10 minutes and cool. Add one cup ruby port. Combine with strawberry brandy mixture and add orange zest. Strain.

Three seasoned judges ranked MIXT&PE cocktail submissions for their name, presentation, creativity, balance and musical inspiration. Bartenders had their choice of Louisville, Ky.-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co.’s portfolio of fine distilled spirits as the base for their cocktail including:

  • Copper & Kings American Craft Distilled Brandy (90 proof/45% ABV) - $35/750 mL
  • Copper & Kings American Butchertown Brandy (124 proof/45% ABV) - $35/750 mL
  • Copper & Kings Immature Brandy (90 proof/45% ABV) - $30/ 750 mL
  • Copper & Kings Absinthe Blanche (130 proof/65% ABV) - $55/750 mL
  • Copper & Kings American Apple Brandy (100 proof/50% ABV) - $40 per 750mL bottle
  • Copper & Kings Un-Aged Apple Brandy (90 Proof/45% ABV) - $30/750mL

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