Cognac producer Courvoisier has launched its third annual ‘Toast of Paris’ cocktail competition where, for the first time, UK bartenders will be marked on the Instagram-worthiness of their cocktails, alongside more traditional criteria.
The competition brings together top bartenders from across the globe for the chance to win $4,000 (£2,880) towards their future career development, as well as a host of other prizes.
Bartenders will be challenged to push the boundaries of the Cognac category, using every bit of their talent to create new and exciting serves to impress judges.
Beyond the serve
Through a series of heats, entrants’ skills and creativity will be put to the test, with each bartender tasked with creating a signature serve that encapsulates the spirit’s heritage.
Judges for the UK heats will give scores based on bartender skill and innovation, cocktail flavour and, for the first time, how Instagrammable the finished drink looks – an innovative new feature that acknowledges the role of the modern bartender in providing experiences to cocktail drinkers beyond the serve.
To apply for the competition, bartenders must showcase their skill with Courvoisier VSOP in one or both of their chosen cocktails: a Cognac-centred expression of an ‘all-time classic’ cocktail, or a ‘Café Courvoisier’ – a sumptuous twist on a coffee-based cocktail.
Alongside the ingredients and method for their cocktails, bartenders have the option of submitting a video showcasing their serve and the inspiration behind it.
Entrants that impress will be invited to attend regional heats and then a national final in April. The winners will then travel to Paris to take part in the global final with a judging panel that includes Patrice Pinet, Courvoisier master blender; Salvatore Calabrese, one of the world’s most celebrated bartenders; and Rebecca Asseline, global brand ambassador for Courvoisier.
From Paris, all finalists will travel to Jarnac where they will spend the night at Château Courvoisier and enjoy a gala dinner and tour of the historic Paradis cellar. Each finalist will also be appointed a Courvoisier Lumière; an exclusive collective of bartenders across the world who embody the joie de vivre of Courvoisier.
The overall winner will also receive a unique prize – a bespoke blend of Courvoisier crafted by master blender Pinet, presented in an engraved, crystal decanter. Courvoisier will also provide the $4,000 prize money.