Bénédictine to take winning bartenders back to its French home

Simon Juvas - Glasgow Winner

The regional winners of Bénédictine liqueur’s 2014 Cocktail Challenge have been announced after four very close heats across the UK.

The competition began at The Captains Club in Christchurch, Dorset, where CJ Lohez (pictured below) from The Larder House in Bournemouth fought off stiff competition from the other skilled entrants to come out on top.

His cocktail, For Whom The Bells Toll, was garnished with smoked apple chips soaked in myrrh. The judges praised his excellent showmanship and presentation throughout.

CJ - Bournemouth Winner

At Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn in Glasgow, the Scottish heat was won by Simon Smith (pictured top) from The George Hotel in Inveraray, Argyll, who wowed judges with his First Over The Wall. Created with brandy and crème d’abricot, the decadent cocktail was perfectly balanced and brought out the base flavour of Bénédictine.

The third leg of the tour was hosted by Almost Famous in Manchester, with Lewis Cooke (pictured below) from Epernay in Manchester beating 13 other impressive contestants with his Catholicon cocktail. The judges both agreed that the cocktail provided a fantastic link to the liqueur’s religious past, and Lewis’s knowledge of the brand shone through.

Lewis Cook - Manchester Winner

Shaker & Co in London was the final location for the competition, where Jeremy Pascal (pictured below) from the Perkin Reveller by the Tower of London was named the winner of a dramatic final shake-off. His Monk’s Flip cocktail paid homage to Bénédictine’s medieval heritage, including a warm infusion of rosemary, among other herbs and spices.

Each regional champion wins a once-in-a-lifetime trip to France in December, which includes a visit to the liqueur’s birthplace in Fécamp, Normandy and a “Cocktail Safari” in Paris, all courtesy of Bénédictine.

Jeremy Pascal

Paul Curry, brand manager for Bénédictine at William Grant & Sons UK, said: “Once again this year, we have been blown away by the imaginative cocktail creations presented to us, which show the versatility of Bénédictine as an ingredient. Not only that, but all entrants showed great knowledge and enthusiasm for the brand.”

“The contestants were of the very highest calibre throughout, each bringing something slightly different to the competition.

“We can’t wait to take our four regional winners to the home of Bénédictine, particularly on this centenary anniversary of World War One, as the strong links between Béné and the Lancashire Regiment of Burnley make this liqueur so relevant to the UK.”

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