Recently Jonathan Arthur from Bramble in Edinburgh took out the win at the Global Final of the Courvoisier Toast of Paris Competition, we sat down to have a chat with him about it.
The competition final took place in Paris where Jonny found himself up against André Rigaud Da Silva from Fat Cat in France, Dominik Oswald from Hammond in Austria, Mike Jordhoy from Brix & Mortar in Canada and Sarah Deuss from Guts & Glory in Germany.
Each competitor had to create two serves, an aperitif-style drink that has a low ABV and encapsulates the Parisian lifestyle and culture of brasseries and cafés, and a cocktail inspired by the Parisian nightlife that captures ‘La Joie de Vivre’. Jonny’s recipes can be found at the end of this article.
All of this in-front of a judging panel that consisted of Salvatore Calabrese, BNIC Cognac Ambassador, David Boileau, and Courvoisier Global Ambassador, Rebecca Asseline.
Before that stage Jonny had already done a lot of work, including taking out the UK final.
BarLifeUK: What was it that captured your attention about the competition and made you want to enter?
Jonny Arthur: The Toast of Paris Masterclass hosted by Rebecca really brought the competition to life and struck a great balance of all aspects of the judging criteria and drink expectation. The trip to France also played a part…
BLUK: Talk us through your drink and the inspiration for it.
JA: The original drink, the Demi-Monde, was inspired by the lifestyle of the Parisians in the Belle Epoque era combined with the style of the Golden Age cocktails by Courvoisier. I wanted to keep it very classic in style and true to the style of drinks of the time. For my second drink, Reunion, I wanted a light, bright, slightly savoury Aperitif style drink, inspired by people meeting up with friends and family after the working day at a cafe for a drink. The ingredients were deliberately French and aimed towards flavours that would stimulate the appetite.
BLUK: Did you get to try the other competitors drinks in Paris? How were they?
JA: I tried a couple of the drinks (I didn’t try the ones before my presentation as I was setting up). The drinks were all very strong, and very in keeping to the brief and style of the competition. It’s always an experience to see people from other cities and countries present.
Following the pressures and stresses of the competition it was time for some relaxing time in Jarnac and for Jonny to pick up his prize, a bespoke blend of Courvoisier in an engraved crystal decanter, from the in-house Paradis Cellar.
The Courvoisier Chateaux really is a special place, history is hidden in every corner and every room has witnessed some pretty impressive parties with some of the most famous names in European history. Spending a night partying in the Chateaux really does feel like a very special occasion.
BLUK: Besides winning (of course) what was the highlight of the trip for you?
JA: The highlight has to have been the dinner on the last night followed by the tasting in the Paradis Cellar, it was an unforgettable experience. I certainly haven’t stayed anywhere nearly as grand as the Chateaux! Especially when being looked after as well as we were by the whole Courvoisier team.
BLUK: What was the most interesting thing you learnt on your trip?
JA: It’s one thing reading about and doing the research on how cognac is made, but seeing it all in the flesh, as well as the history behind the houses was fascinating. Also, that Salvatore is not a morning person.
BLUK: Finally what is your favourite Courvoisier cocktail?
JA: It’d have to be the Sidecar.
Jonathan Arthur, Bramble, Edinburgh – 2017 Courvoisier Toast of Paris Global Winner
- 60ml Courvoisier VSOP
- 12.5ml Colosia Pedro Ximenez Sherry
- 4 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- Laphroaig 10 (spray)
Stir on cubed ice, strain into a chilled goblet rinsed with Laphroaig 10, garnish with a Maraschino Cherry stuffed with dark chocolate coated coffee bean
- 30ml Courvoisier VSOP
- 12.5ml Absentroux
- 2.5ml Suze
- 2 Dash celery, cucumber and caraway tincture
- 15ml lemon
- 12.5ml fennel syrup
Shake, double strain. Serve in a rocks glass with block ice and garnish with a fennel sprig.