Launched in November, the competition, organized by the Spirits Hunters website with support from the Cognac appellation, is aimed at all bartenders in France, who are invited to share a video tutorial of themselves creating a Cognac cocktail on Instagram. Nathalie Baylaucq, the editor-in-chief of the Spirits Hunters website, tells us about the project’s beginnings.
“The idea of a bartender contest came to us last spring during the first lockdown.
One our end, we wanted to continue running the Spirits Hunters website and social media pages as usual. But with my partner Marie-France Sabiani, we wondered how bartenders were experiencing the lockdown since their job relies heavily on human interaction.
Like many others, we wanted to provide support during this very difficult time: in particular, one of our friends, Alexandre Vingtier, helped supply hospitals with alcohol-based hand sanitizer by connecting them with distilleries.
As for us, we were looking for a way to support bartenders…so we decided to create the Lockdown Bartender Contest, a global cocktail-making competition.
It was a lot of work and investment on behalf of Spirits Hunters, with ten bartenders winning every week over two months and a grand prize of 2,000 euros for the final winner!
But we were rewarded in return by wonderful messages of encouragement and thanks from all over the world:
“I’d like to thank Spirits Hunters for my prize today. In Guatemala, we are having a very difficult time right now and as a bartender, I’m currently out of work. This money will help my family a lot.”
José Luis Santizo, Guatemala
“Thank you very much. This is really going to help me out. With the prize money I can now start my own business.”
Ma Jocel Suguitan, Philippines
When another lockdown was announced in France in early November, we decided, along with the Cognac appellation team, to continue the contest by inviting bartenders in France to mix a Cognac cocktail and film how they make it.
We received lots of videos, which were often very creative; some were touching, others were funny and original, but all of them were upbeat. All in all, it was a great success and a wonderful way to bring the bartender community together during a difficult time. The only hard part was having to choose the winners!
In the end, first place went to Antony Bertin, the head barman at the Aquarium Bar in Dinard, Brittany. He’ll receive a prize of 1,000 euros from Spirits Hunters and, as soon as the health restrictions allow, he’ll be invited to the Cognac region to meet the people behind the spirit. As for us, we’ll be continuing the adventure with a special competition for bartenders in the United Kingdom!”