Merlet seeks Sidecar twists for Tales of the Cocktail prize

Sidecar by Merlet Cocktail

Bartenders are being challenged to create a twist on the classic Sidecar for a chance to win a trip to the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans next year.

The fourth Sidecar by Merlet competition is run by French drinks producer Merlet & Fils and calls for two cocktails using Merlet Brothers Blend Cognac and its range of liqueurs.

With a deadline for entries of June 15, the UK final will be held on June 29 at the Imbibe Live show in London. Six finalists will compete for a place in the European final where the winner will go to Tales of the Cocktail in 2016.

The UK final is being run by Merlet & Fils’s UK distributor Cask Liquid Marketing and will be compered by Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham of The Thinking Drinkers.

Competitors will need to present a variation on the classic Sidecar, using Merlet Brothers Blend Cognac and Merlet Trois Citrus triple sec.

They will also need to present a second original cocktail that can be anything of the bartender’s choice so long as it uses one of the following Merlet liqueurs: Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant), Crème de Poire (Pear) and/or Crème de Framboise (raspberry).

Bartenders will also need to demonstrate knowledge of the Sidecar which is first mentioned as early as 1907 and is named after a motorcycle sidecar. The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims origin of the drink, but it first appears in 1922 in Harry MacElhone’s book, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, and Robert Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them.

For terms and conditions and to enter, visit

Last year Mike Foster, of London bar 69 Colebrooke Row, won a trip to this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, which takes place in July, with his version of the classic Sidecar.

He was one of five finalists who took part in the European final of Sidecar by Merlet, held in Cognac in France. The ingredients drawn randomly for Mike’s winning cocktail, Le Boissonneur des Lilas, were Merlet Crème de Pêche and a blanco tequila, which he mixed with cider, lemon juice and gomme syrup and decorated with a lilac flower.

Le Boissonneur des Lilas
10ml Merlet Crème de Pêche
40ml Tequila blanco
20ml Lemon juice
10ml Gomme syrup
Build the first four ingredients in a highball glass, stir and top with cider. Garnish with a lilac flower.

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