Top cognac house Courvoisier has launched its global competition for the second year running, and to inspire bartenders across the UK it is hosting masterclasses nationwide.
The roadshow started in London with two popular sessions at the Ace Hotel and the Mondrian Hotel.
On the day, global brand ambassador Rebecca Asseline shared Courvoisier's history and its links to Paris: 'Courvoisier started around 1811, and founders Louis Gallois and Emmanuel Courvoisier decided to sell their cognacs outside of the Cognac region and in Paris instead, which was unusual then due to transport limitations,' she explained.
The move turned out to be a master stroke, as Courvoisier's reputation grew, eventually attracting the attention and admiration of Emperor Napoleon III.
Paris was an exciting place to be in the 19th century – the café and brasserie culture was already flourishing in the daytime, and the city was famous for fashion, art and culture.
Two key serves that encapsulate the quality of Courvoisier and Parisian café culture
COURVOISIER ESPRESSO MARTINI
Garnish: Three coffee beans, dusting of cocoa powder
Method: Shake and fine strain.
35ml Courvoisier VSOP
20ml fresh coffee
10ml coffee liqueur
Glass: Tulip for the Courvoisier, espresso cup for the coffee
Garnish: Courvoisier chocolates
Method: Serve the Courvoisier on a tray alongside the espresso and chocolate.
35ml Courvoisier VSOP
1 shot espresso
But one thing was the catalyst for Paris becoming the centre of the world towards the end of the 19th century: the addition of street lights, which made it safer for people to go out in the evenings and sparked the start of bar culture and the Golden Age in Paris.
In 1889 Paris hosted the World Fair, an international exhibition where nations could come to demonstrate their achievements and inventions. To mark the event, architect Gustave Eiffel was commissioned to build a huge structure, and the Eiffel Tower - then the tallest building in the world - was created.
Courvoisier was served at the sumptuous opening party at the Tower, and the cognac house's links with Paris and this iconic building were cemented forever.
The second year of Courvoisier's Toast of Paris International Cocktail Competition has kicked off under the title 'Le Jour et La Nuit de Courvoisier'.
Bartenders have to create an aperitif-style drink encapsulating the Parisian lifestyle and brasserie culture; or a cocktail inspired by the Parisian nightlife that encapsulates 'la joie de vivre', containing a minimum of 25ml of Courvoisier VSOP.
The UK semi-final will be held on the 10-11 April, with the global final taking place in Paris on 16 May.
Click here to enter, and for more information.
The Courvoisier team is hitting the road. This is the perfect place to learn more about the brand and the competition ahead of sending your entry. To attend a masterclass, please contact Maxxium UK.
Bristol: 15 February
Birmingham: 21 February
Newcastle: 27 February
Edinburgh: 28 February