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Bartender Feature: Justin Alford

blog | 12/04/2020

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With the holidays right around the corner, we took some time to get to know our friend and popular cocktail enthusiast, Justin Alford, a little bit better. Justin is known as @thewhiskeymcgee on Instagram and over the past six years he has taken his hobby of photographing cocktails and turned it into a job. Justin enjoys the challenge of using photography to entice someone into trying a cocktail as well as selling its location.

Kick back, pour a glass, and learn more about Justin.

Where did you find your passion for creating and photographing cocktails?

Sitting at Taylor Starkey’s bar every Saturday at Rocco’s in Seattle. Over the years I got to know him and quickly gained his passion for creating cocktails while learning his genius techniques. I love the idea of enticing someone into trying a cocktail with a photo and love the challenge of using photography to really sell a cocktail and its location. I have always been into bourbon and whiskey but doing this commercially let me grow my appreciation for the craft cocktail world as well, and a desire to be able to do it at home.

When you aren’t handcrafting cocktails to share with your followers, where can you be found spending your time? 

Currently, spending every moment I can with my 2 1/2-year-old little girl. Although it has been an interesting year, to say the least, it has given me the opportunity to make the best of our one-on-one time together.

What are the essential liquors everyone should have on their bar cart or in their liquor cabinet during the holidays?

  • A Cask Strength Bourbon and Rye
  • Sweet Vermouth
  • A bottle of PX Sherry
  • A good Amaro, like Averna
  • When it comes to making a classic Old Fashioned and a Manhattan you can roll in a killer Boulevardier riff subbing in the Averna for Campari, and Manhattan Riff by adding in Sherry to the Vermouth mix, and then a 1/4 ounce of the Averna for rounding it out.

What is your favorite cocktail to drink/make during the holidays and why?

I love a Winter Spiced Old Fashioned with a syrup made up of Cardamom, Ginger, Star Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Peppercorn, Vanilla and Orange. I’m not big on warm cocktails, so this one brings the holiday flavors but with the crispness of a solid Old Fashioned. 

What is your favorite garnish to use during the holidays and why?

Burning cinnamon, something about that smell is so warming and inviting, which is exactly what I think holiday cocktails should embody.

What are you most excited about this holiday season?

Seeing as we won’t be able to spend the holidays with family this year, I’m most looking forward to watching my kiddo’s first Christmas where she really knows what’s happening!

And lastly, what’s your favorite of our Bourbons to drink, and how do you drink it? 

Hands down has to be the Four Roses 50th Anniversary Al Young Limited Edition, neat.

As a fan of the Four Roses brand and our line of handcrafted Bourbons, Justin created the Williamsburg, perfect to sip on this holiday season. If you decide to handcraft your own Williamsburg, please share it with us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram so we can check it out.


1 1/2 oz           Four Roses Small Batch
1 oz                 Punt e Mes
1/2 oz             Kina Aéro d’Or
1/4 oz             Bénédictine
2 dashes         Angostura Bitters
2 dashes         Orange Bitters
                        Express an Orange Peel

In a shaking tin, combine all ingredients. Shake and strain into a glass. Express an orange peel over the top and enjoy!

New this holiday season, click here to get Four Roses delivered to your door.

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