Cocktail: Mechanical Bull | Bartender: Blake Canning

A note from Bartender Atlas: We are always trying to come up with fun ideas to keep our bartenders engaged and this time it was through a cocktail challenge. Our bartenders were asked to create a cocktail called Mechanical Bull and the only caveat was that this cocktail had to include American Whiskey. For every cocktail submitted in this challenge, we donated $5 to the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. One winning cocktail was chosen which is shared here. Congrats to Blake!


I’ll admit I took this challenge WAY too literally, but cowboy puns just kept coming up that I couldn’t ignore. I wanted to make a riff on one of my favourite classics that also had a western feel to it, a Revolver. I also had THE BEST coffee liqueur that I brought (smuggled) back from the USA a lifetime ago, Springbrook Distillery’s Cowboy Coffee. So pair that with George Dickel Sour Mash and we’re on the right track. But that didn’t scream Mechanical Bull enough so I made a Smoked Beef Jerky Syrup. If you’re gonna make a cocktail based on a cow you may as well put some real haunches in there.

Next I called the folks at StirCrazy Bitters and grabbed their new experimental test batch, Cocoa & Sarsaparilla Bitters! Just to keep supporting local while still adding some kind of old school cowboy root beer taste. Finally a couple dashes of Ms. Better’s Smoke/Oak Bitters cuz what good’s a Revolver if it doesn’t taste like it’s just been fired?

Also it had to be in a mule mug because, well, they’ve both got 4 legs? Maybe a bit of a stretch…

BUT WAIT. There just had to be more 😂 I finished the last of my bottle of Dickel while making this cocktail, and figured I couldn’t let it go to waste – smoked that cowboy up and let him RIDE THE BULL (mule)! 🐂

Cocktail: Mechanical Bull | Bartender Atlas

1.5 oz George Dickel Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky
0.5 oz Springbrook Cowboy Coffee Liqueur
0.25 oz Smoked Jerky Syrup*
2 dashes StirCrazy Cocoa & Sarsaparilla Bitters
2 dashes Ms Better’s Smoke/Oak Bitters

Add all ingredients to mixing glass and stir. Double strain in to mule mug over crushed ice. Smoke empty Whisky bottle and submerge…forcefully.

*Smoked Jerky Syrup: Fine chop one pack of beef jerky and add to medium pot with water. Bring to boil, lower heat and macerate for two hours. Remove jerky and add equal parts sugar to existing water. Stir until dissolved. Smoke your storage vessel and pour syrup in.


Blake Canning
Hey there, I’m Blake and I’ve been bartending for about 8 years now in Toronto, Ontario. I’m essentially just a bar geek who has always wanted to make cocktailing more accessible and get people interested in drinking better.

I started The Bitter End Bar (@thebitterendbar), a weekly livestream on Instagram at my (rather aggressive) home bar while my city was in lockdown for exactly this reason and was shocked at the positive feedback from the community.

The Bartender Atlas Mechanical Bull challenge was the first cocktail “competition” I ever entered, but I had so much fun doing it that I think I will most definitely have to make it a habit. Looking forward to more in the future!
Blake Canning on Instagram

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