NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC)—the entity promoting, protecting and developing the Cognac Geographical Indication and culture—is thrilled to share the results of the Cognac Connection Challenge bartender competition, co-sponsored by Speed Rack and VinePair, that received over 120 entries.
The Cognac Connection Challenge was created in partnership with our agency Teuwen Communications to support US bartenders during the pandemic and give them the opportunity to share their passion for mixing with cognac. Ten winning bartenders will receive a $1,000 cash stipend and virtual trip to Cognac, France.
After a difficult task of narrowing the field from the many tantalizing recipes, the expert judge panel— Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix of Speed Rack, Cognac Educator Kellie Thorn (Beverage Director of Hugh Acheson Restaurants) and VinePair spirits writer Tim McKirdy—selected 20 semifinalist cocktails to re-create and blind taste. Ten bartenders best showcased why cognac works well in cocktails and were selected as winners:
- Meghann Allred, Left Bank Bar & Restaurant — York, PA
- Mara Bethel (no bar affiliation) — Atlanta, GA
- Lance Bowman, Maya Hospitality Group — Charlotte, NC
- Jesse Cyr, Foreign National — Seattle, WA
- Chelsea DeMark, Quill at the Jefferson Hotel — Washington, DC
- Jena Ellenwood, Dear Irving — New York, NY
- Anna Giordano, Longway Tavern — New Orleans, LA
- Britt Ingalls, Silver Lyan — Washington, DC
- Lauren Paylor, Silver Lyan — Washington, DC
- Jessica Pomerantz, Black Rooster — West Columbia, SC
Speed Rack co-founders and spirit luminaries Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero commented, “We were honored and excited to partner with the BNIC for the Cognac Connection campaign and share the joys of cognac while supporting our bartender community. The creativity of our community inspired us during the education and the competition. We were thrilled to get so many wonderful entries.”
Bartenders entered the challenge by submitting an original cognac-based cocktail recipe, sharing their inspiration for the cocktail and what they’d learned about the spirit through the process. Recipes were judged on originality, creativity, technique, taste and appearance. Entrants also earned points by attending a virtual educational seminar, watching Instagram Lives, and sharing their cocktails on social media.
“As a Cognac educator, it’s rewarding to see that so many bartenders around the country have embraced cognac as a cocktail base,” shared Kellie Thorn, who also led the bartender webinar. She continued, “It wasn’t easy selecting the final 10, but what a delicious process!”
A digital recipe book with the ten top cocktails will be available this fall on VinePair.com and the official Cognac Connection website. Winning bartenders will also be profiled on @CognacUSA social channels.
Visit CognacConnection.com for further updates and information about all things cognac.