Eleven bartenders from Northern Ireland have been named as finalists in the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge and will go on to compete to win a prestigious training scholarship with the world’s most iconic cognac brand.
Returning for the second year, the competition has been created by drinks company, Dillon Bass – owners of the Hennessy brand in Northern Ireland – and seeks to uncover the top mixology talent.
The grand finale will take place at Ox Cave on Monday 15th August, where three of the eleven finalists will be crowned with the prestigious status of being named a Hennessy Connoisseur and will win a money can’t buy prize package courtesy of Dillon Bass.
The prize package will include a VIP trip to Cognac to visit Maison Hennessy and Chateau Bagnolet, with one-on-one training, a tasting with the Hennessy Master Blender and the opportunity to have their signature drinks showcased by the brand.
The judging panel will include Vincent Borjon-Prive from Hennessy and Julie Dupouy, Brand Ambassador for Moet-Hennessy, recently named as one of the world’s top three sommeliers, who will put the bartenders through their paces, assessing them on their bespoke Hennessy drink, product knowledge and personality.
Commenting on the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge, Laura Blair, brand manager at Dillon Bass, said: “We’re delighted to bring this competition back for the second year and to offer local bartenders an incredible opportunity to win this fantastic training scholarship with Hennessy.
“The standard of entries this year has been exceptionally high and we’ve been blown away by the creativity and product knowledge shown by all the finalists.
“The winners will receive a once in a lifetime experience with a global brand that is guaranteed to further their career in the industry and I’m looking forward to finding out who will be crowned as this year’s Connoisseurs.
Last year’s competition winners were Frankie Cosgrove from sixty6 Belfast, Nathaniel McAuley from Muriel’s Café Bar and Roisin McErlean from Sweet Afton.
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The eleven finalists in the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge are:
- Christopher McQuillan, Saphyre Restaurant
- Darren McEvoy, The Albany Belfast
- David Kelly, Filthy McNastys
- David Mulholland, Love and Death Inc
- Eoin Devenny, Love and Death Inc
- Jefferson Minglanilla, Hadskis
- Jonathan Magennis, Deanes EIPIC
- Liam Hall, The Northern Whig
- Matt Fox, Love and Death Inc
- Nathan Evans, Secrets Nightclub, Magherafelt
- Ryan Adair, The Merchant Hotel