Throughout the 2019 Garrison Brothers Bourbon Brawl season, we had the opportunity to sit down with all of the bartenders competing for the title—including 2019 champion, Terance Robson. From his accent to his techniques, the Irishman-turned-Austinite behind several of the best damn bourbon cocktails we’ve ever had stood out from the beginning. Rather than trying to fit in with the Texas pride atmosphere surrounding the competition, he took the things that made him a little bit different and ran with them, starting with one of his drink names.
“So my first drink’s called ‘Mo Bhaile’ and it’s Gaelic for ‘my home.’ So it’s based on moving from Dublin to Austin.”
Robson has a culinary background both back in Ireland and at his home bar in Austin, Here Nor There, that influenced a lot of the choices he made developing his recipes for the Brawl.
“In Here Nor There, we focus a lot on the kitchen and using cooking techniques in our drinks. So like, everything has had a process and a stage. And my whole family, like my mom, my aunt and my uncles, they’re all chefs. So we brought it into the drink, pretty much. I also use leather in my drink, so I use the same type of leather that’s on the top of the bottle.”
The leather Robson refers to is the deerskin leather tie on every bottle of Garrison Brothers Bourbon. One of the most unique flavor notes in our Small Batch is saddle leather—a very subtle note that can be difficult to pick up on amidst all of the other flavors. Judges were surprised and delighted when he brought in a cocktail that he had infused with the very leather we use on our bottles.
After taking home the $10,000 prize, Robson used the money to thank the folks that inspired him by flying his mom to Austin for a few weeks to celebrate the win.