Bartenders are being challenged to create a new twist on the classic Champagne Cocktail inspired by Paris’s Golden Age in a new competition for Courvoisier cognac.
Running globally, the competition will be prefaced in the UK by masterclasses across the country in nine cities from January to March ahead of the UK final in April. See below for the schedule.
It follows last year’s launch of Courvoisier’s global campaign, The Toast of Paris Since 1889, alongside new packaging, all taking inspiration from the Golden Age, or Belle Époque, in Paris between 1870 and 1910.
The campaign is being brought to life in the on-trade with the celebratory Champagne Cocktail (pictured) as it showcases the versatility of cognac and is expected to inspire bartenders to immerse themselves in this period of innovation, optimism and creative exuberance.
Bartenders will need to create their twist on a Champagne Cocktail using Courvoisier VSOP or above and explain how their recipe was inspired by Paris’s Golden Age. Entry will close on March 25 2016, and the global final will take place in May in Paris.
Bartenders will compete for the prize of a bespoke blend of Courvoisier cognac dating back to 1889, presented in an engraved crystal decanter. The finalists will also travel to the Courvoisier Chateau in Jarnac, France, and visit the centuries-old paradis cellar with Courvoisier’s master blender, Patrice Pinet.
At the masterclasses in the UK, attendees will be given an exclusive “Le Nez” experience hosted by Courvoisier global brand ambassador Rebecca Asseline and Maxxium UK’s Mixxit training and education team.
The masterclasses will include information on Courvoisier’s history and its Paris Golden Age heritage in a fully immersive experience including food pairings and cocktails.
The competition is being supported by PR and media partnerships. Six UK semi-finalists will compete this April in London for a place in the global final and the UK winner will have the opportunity to represent Courvoisier during London Cocktail Week in October and take part in future campaign activity.
To enter the competition and take part in the masterclasses, bartenders need to contact their Maxxium UK sales representative.
Maxxium UK’s marketing controller for luxury brands, Chris Anderson, said: “This is an exciting year for Courvoisier. Building on the new brand campaign, the bartender competition is linking leading markets around the world to celebrate The Toast of Paris Since 1889 and encourage the use of Courvoisier in signature serves like the Champagne Cocktail.
“The on-trade is an extremely important segment of the business and Maxxium UK is supporting the country’s number-one cognac with significant investment in education and engagement.
“We are looking forward to seeing how leading bartenders across the country recreate the Champagne Cocktail and represent the Paris Golden Age with Courvoisier at the centre.”
The cognac category in the UK on-trade has seen consistent strong performance with volume growing by 4% and value by 12%, according to CGA figures to October 2015.
Courvoisier has contributed to this growth and now accounts for 68% of the category’s on-trade volume in the UK. Courvoisier’s UK value sales saw 9% growth, according to the CGA figures.
UK masterclass schedule
Birmingham: January 19
London: January 26 and 27
Bristol: February 2
Manchester: February 9
Liverpool: February 16
Leeds: February 23
Edinburgh: March 8
Glasgow: March 15
Newcastle upon Tyne: March 22
Courvoisier Champagne Cocktail
1 part Courvoisier VSOP
1 Demerara sugar cube
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Top with champagne
Soak a sugar cube in bitters and drop into a champagne flute. Cover with Courvoisier VSOP and top with champagne.