Bartenders win VIP French trip with Suze and Byrrh

Lulu Fedi Gleneagles Suze Byrrh

Three bartenders are off on a VIP trip to France after winning heats in a competition for classic French brands Suze Saveur d’Autrefois and Byrrh.

With regional heats in Edinburgh, Manchester and London, the winners were Lulu Fedi (pictured) of Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Adam Day of El Gato Negro in Manchester and Clotilde Lataille from Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London.

The competition, organised by distributor Emporia Brands, asked bartenders to submit two cocktails using either Byrrh Grand Quinquina or Suze Saveur d’Autrefois for each serve.

The first drink needed to be a simple serve that reflected the current trends for refreshing, lower-alcohol cocktails, using at least 30ml of either Byrrh or Suze as the base ingredient, with no more than four ingredients including drops, dashes and garnish.

The second drink needed to be a classic twist, drawing inspiration from the era these brands were at the height of their popularity – France’s Belle Epoque in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and the Années Folles in the 1920s. Using Byrrh or Suze, this reboot of a “forgotten classic” could contain no more than eight ingredients including drops, dashes and garnish.

At the Scotland heat at Liquor Library in Edinburgh, Lulu presented the Cabaret, building her drink with Byrrh, Bob’s Chocolate Bitters and ginger ale, while her twist on a classic, Suzette by Suzon, saw Suze Saveur d’Autrefois shaken with Polugar Wheat spirit, lemon juice, sugar and egg white, all topped with champagne.

Adam impressed the northern heat’s judges with his two creations at Dusk til Pawn in Manchester. The Byrrh Necessity saw Byrrh, genever and pink grapefruit liqueur stirred down and served up in a chilled cocktail glass. His twisted classic, Les Vieux Genoux (The Old Knees), combined gin, Suze Saveur D’Autrefois, fresh lemon juice, honey syrup and orange bitters.

In the London heat at Hawksmoor Spitalfields, Clotilde presented The Toulouse-Lautrec, made with Byrrh, Yellow Chartreuse and poire eau-de-vie stirred down and served on the rocks with a charcoal lemon wheel. Her twisted classic, Bottle and Glass, combined Suze Saveur D’Autrefois with “Spitalfields premier cru 2016” (15ml verjus, 2.5ml passion fruit syrup, 70ml lemon verbena tea), served in a wine glass.

The three heats were judged by leading figures from the UK’s bar scene including Luca Cordigileri, co-founder of 68 & Boston in London, Ian McIntyre of NOLA Bar in London, and Gethin Jones from Cottonopolis in Manchester.

All three winners will enjoy a trip to the distillery in Thuir in southern France, featuring the world’s largest wooden barrel and architecture by the world-famous Gustave Eiffel, to see how both Byrrh and Suze are made.

Byrrh dates back to 1866 when the company was founded by Simon Violet in the eastern Pyrenees of France to produce the “tonique et hygienique” aperitif to serve in the grands cafés. Byrrh went on to become an iconic brand celebrated with classic posters and wall paintings throughout France.

Suze Saveur D’Autrefois was created in 1885 by Fernand Moureaux as an aperitif based on gentian roots, initially at 32% ABV, although this was soon moderated to 20%. He named it Suze after his step-sister Suzanne.

Cabaret by Lulu Fedi
50ml Byrrh
3 dash Bob’s Chocolate Bitters
100ml Ginger ale
Orange twist
Glass: Rocks
Method: Build

Suzette by Suzon by by Lulu Fedi
45ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
20ml Polugar Wheat
15ml Lemon juice
10ml Sugar
15ml Egg white
Top Champagne
Glass: Coupette
Method: Dry shake, hard shake.

Byrrh Necessity by Adam Day
40ml Byrrh
15ml Genever
10ml Pamplemousse (pink grapefruit liqueur).
Glass: Coupette
Method: Stirred, strained and served up in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnished with grapefruit zest.

Les Vieux Genoux (The Old Knees) by Adam Day
45ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
35ml Gin
20ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
15ml Fresh lemon juice
15ml Honey syrup
2 dashes Orange bitters
Glass: Coupette
Method: Wet shake, dry shake and fine strain.

The Toulouse-Lautrec by Clotilde Lataille
50ml Byrrh
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
10ml Poire eau-de-vie
Glass: Rocks
Method: Stir, served on the rocks with a charcoal lemon wheel.

Bottle and Glass by Clotilde Lataille
35ml Suze Saveur D’Autrefois
130ml Spitalfields premier cru 2016 (15ml Verjus, 2.5ml Passion fruit syrup, 70ml Lemon verbena tea)
Glass: Wine
Method: Pour ingredients into a wine glass.

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