The Best of France and nearby!

The cocktail contest is now truely a fact

7 min read

Spirits brands are dedicated to highlight their own identity through notably the organisation of a cocktail contest, involving most often the flagship alcohol, mobilizes entire teams. They are trying to recruit the best bartenders of the place, in the making of the mixture that will seduce the more the jury of experts, or savvy designated for the occasion.
The stated objective is clearly to surpass the primary commercial function and then include the brand in a process of “legend” that will cross the ages.
Like celebrities growing in popularity, a rum or whiskey is able to acquire its acclaim even after only two years of existence.
The reason given is based on the mysterious, yet sometimes miraculous, workings of marketing science. A dynamic search of prestige, constantly questioned by the multiple actors, forging the destiny of a brand, whether trend offices, marketing analysts, bartenders, or even casual opinion leaders. Those exist through their temples of expression of their interpretation of the product or the media having an important role in the construction of a reputation. However, at the end of the chain, it is indeed the consumer who will judge this perception of the so called brand.
This is why we can cite below some events that they are organized by newcomers but also big pundits. Not to mention that most of those sessions are then strongly relayed on social networks.

If you never attended a cocktail contest, check this one organised by the Courvoisier Cognac, untitled “Toast of Paris”, in the golden 30s Art Deco alcove walls of the Purple Bar, of the Hotel du Collectionneur Palace, in Paris. A few steps away of the Pagoda, the Jacquemart André Museum and the Cabinet de Curiosité of the Salomon de Rothschild Hotel.
First launched in May 2016, Courvoisier The Toast of Paris International cocktail competition brings together some of the world’s top bartenders (photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

Since 2 years, 5 bartenders from all over Europe compete with their Art of mixology to seduce the jury, composed of Rebecca Asseline, Salvatore Calabrese and Patrice, while creating 2 cocktails including the precious Cognac.

This 2018 edition, moderated by the Faux Rêveur Agency and Romain Chassang, was really inventive again. The winner was the Hungarian barman Ferenc Haraszti with his cocktails “Riverside” and “Think Twice”, officiating in the Mr Mendez Bar in Vienna.

Congratulations to the other candidates too! Julia Rahn from the Roomers bar in Frankfurt who was wearing a purple kimono matching to her own suprising “French Toast” cocktail served in a chinese porcelain cup and made of Marsala Coffee and Cinnamon Bread Syrup or her “Coeur de Paris” served in an absinth coated glass with Visciolata, Rinquinquin and dashes of roses and Champagne Brimoncourt.

The other European contestants were Baijie Curdt Christiansen from the Little Red Door Bar of Paris, Antonio Rosato and Paul Lougrat, of the London High Water cocktail bar, who proposed two creations: “Fleur de café” including Branca mentha, honey, Laphroaig, Courvoisier VSOP and the “Belle Époque” with Amontillado, Martinique Rum, Cocchi du Torino, nuts bitters, figs cream and of course the Courvoisier VSOP.

Since 1809 and its first serving on the Orient Express and also at the opening of the Eiffel Tower, the Courvoisier brand enjoys the amateurs of Cognac. 6 generations of master blenders made the legendary cognac come real. Distributed in France by the Barons de Rothschild champagne.
Bartenders, check the Toast of Paris website to apply for next one!

In other places, the final of the Ti’Punch Cup was held at Habitation Clément au François, on the original lands of Martinique. As its name indicated, during this competition involving this famous Rhum Clément manufacture, the world finalists were invited to recreate their Ti’Punch on stage. It must have been the same recipe they were able to submit at the finals in their home country.
Each finalist had 10 minutes (5 minutes to set up + 5 minutes to present) to prepare 4 portions of his Ti’Punch. The evaluation was based on criteria as diverse as the organoleptic aspects of the cocktail (appearance, aroma and taste), the techniques and skills of presentation, the general knowledge of the brand and its products, the respect of the allotted time ((photo credits: Rhum Clément).

The Grand Prix du Cocktail organized by the legendary Havana Club rum brand is one of the oldest and most renowned bartenders competitions, involving more than 45 countries. Under the theme “Cuba Moderna”, the 2018 edition takes on a more modern tone inspired by drinks and different aspects of Cuban culture in full renewal. The objective of this contest is to put “in the limelight” the participants with modern, simple, original creations to elect the bartender who will represent France during the final in Cuba in June 2018. The novelty of this 12th edition: regional competitions. 10 competitors per region all chosen by an experienced Jury chaired by Carina Soto Velasquez (photo credits: Havana Club).

More juicy, since 1997 is organized the Giffard West Cup cocktail competition, with the idea of ​​inviting professional bartenders to imagination and creativity by inventing cocktails around the Giffard products. 2018 is the year of the 21st edition which will host 14 countries. The International Finals of “The Art of Mixing” adventure will be held in Angers, on June, 6th to highlight the talents of the best international bartenders. Some already competed for example at the French Selections, where the mission was to invent a cocktail containing at least 20 ml of Liqueur Giffard (photo credits: Giffard).

Another competition is the “Crystal Head Vodka Espresso Martini Cup” in order to promote an iconic cocktail, which blends perfectly with the tasty side of the Crystal Head Vodka and a selection of three coffees from the parisian Lomi roaster (1 espresso shot, 1cl of coffee liqueur, 1cl of liquid sugar, 4cl of vodka).

A major actor of the spirits scene around the world, Crystal Head Vodka, organises its first competition, happening on September, 17th 2018 in Paris. It will challenge the bartenders from many sides of the Planet. Their skills, their know-how and their imagination will be judged by an expert jury for the realization of their Espresso Martini.





Created in 2007 by Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, known for his roles in Ghost Busters and The Blues Brothers movies, among many others. Crystal Head is a vodka, obtained from a quadruple distillation and filtered through diamond crystals. Additive-free, gluten-free and kosher certified, Crystal Head is bottled in a skull-shaped bottle made in Italy (photo credits: Alexandre Plateaux).

Distilled in Canada in two editions from corn for the classic and wheat for the Crystal Head Aurora, the alcohols thus produced are reduced by up to 40% thanks to the glacial water. What makes Crystal Head, the perfect vodka for an Espresso Martini. Its creamy, smooth and naturally sweet texture makes the perfect match for an EspressoMartini. The Aurora version is different from the classic Crystal Head version. Its wheat base gives it a spicy and complex side that expresses itself in the nose and mouth.





For this cocktail, the quality of the coffee is paramount, that’s why Lomi was appealed to be a partner at this side of this national competition. Planted in North of Paris, Lomi selects seeds directly from plantations, roasts and prepares coffee in search of consistent cup quality. The roasting factory receives daily delivery and roasts 50kg per hour and 350kg per day, or 5 to 6 tons per month. Their purchase price is out of the New York Stock Exchange for arabica and London for robusta, or 3.5 euros per kilo against 2.5 euros for stock prices. This price is evaluated according to the QGraders’ notations, diploma issued by the Coffee Quality Institute, which are ten in France and 3000 in the World.

The Rhum Fest Awards organised during the Rhum Fest, on April, 7th, is not really a cocktail contest but an award ceremony for the largest rum tasting contest in the world is resuming its spring quarters. It proposes a trip to the four corners of the world: from America to Asia through the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. With this year, 350 samples received, divided into 26 categories and will 14 tasting sessions spread over the months of March and April!
Among the new Rum Destinations, the festival hosted The Canaries, Laos, Vietnam, California and New Caledonia joining the long list of countries already represented.
New cachaças were also be honored, as the Brazilian giant, which is full of hundreds of artisanal distilleries finally seems to wake up to export. The opportunity to discover one of the first “rums”, because indeed, for legal reasons, the Brazilian alcohol does not bear the name of “rum” but is known under the name of “Cachaça”.
The organizers have not given up on bringing the big traditional producers of rums and Martinique, Jamaica, Barbados and Venezuela remained the headliners of the competition and the fair that attracts every year more and more foreign visitors, to become the world’s largest rum fair. This year, the show was filled with 40 exhibitors who represented nearly 200 brands. You can check some of them in the video below made in the Temple of Rhum in Paris: La Maison du Rhum.

Parc Floral de Paris – Route des Pyramides – Bois de Vincennes


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