Bramble's Jonathan Arthur was named Courvoisier’s Toast of Paris International Cocktail Competition winner on 16 May at Secret Gallery, Paris.
Arthur competed against finalists from Canada, Germany, France and Austria for the prize of a bespoke blend of Courvoisier, presented in an engraved crystal decanter.
All the finalists were winners (kinda) as they were whisked off to Jarnac to visit the Courvoisier Chateau after the competition. Once there they met with Courvoisier master blender, Patrice Pinet, and were shown all aspects of the product process for the brand, embarking on a distillery tour and visiting the centuries-old Paradis Cellar.
So, what did it take to win? The bartenders were tasked with creating two Courvoisier cocktails — an aperitif-style drink that has a low abv and 'encapsulates the Parisian lifestyle and culture of brasseries and cafés', and a cocktail inspired by the Parisian nightlife that captures 'La Joie de Vivre'.
Arthur’s Réunion aperitif and Demi-Monde nightlife cocktails impressed the panel of judges, which included the Maestro, Salvatore Calabrese; BNIC cognac ambassador, David Boileau; and Courvoisier global ambassador, Rebecca Asseline.
'Jonathan’s drinks are perfectly balanced and I’m completely in love with his interpretation of an aperitif-style drink, Réunion,' Asseline said. 'It’s clear that he understands the cognac category and demonstrated his knowledge of Courvoisier through the story behind his drink. The judges were captivated.'
Arthur explained the thinking behind his winning drinks: 'Réunion is based around the light, savoury style of drink you would have to cleanse the palate and prepare you for an evening meal. The tinctures and herbs contained in the Suze and Absentroux would have been used to aid with digestion. The name is to celebrate the coming together of family and friends after the working day is over.
'I wanted to create something a bit off the usual tack of what I thought the others might do. You don’t tend to see aperitif-style drinks with cognac, so I wanted the drink to be bright and use French ingredients. This experience has been awesome.'
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