Piaras Smyth launches the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge.
Piaras Smyth launches the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge.

~ Search for NI’s Best Bartenders Begins with Launch of Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge ~

Northern Ireland bartenders are being given a unique chance to win a prestigious training scholarship with the world’s most iconic cognac brand.

The new Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge, launched in Belfast this week, seeks to uncover the movers and shakers in Northern Ireland’s cocktail scene.  The exciting new initiative has been created by drinks company, Dillon Bass -owners of the Hennessy brand in Northern Ireland – to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Hennessy.

The prestigious competition, which will take place on Tuesday 18th August 2015 at a venue in Belfast to be announced, and is expected to draw interest from bartenders right across Northern Ireland.

The top three bartenders, chosen on the night, will win an impressive prize package courtesy of Dillon Bass, which includes a VIP all expenses paid trip to Cognac to visit Maison Hennessy and Chateau Bagnolet, where they will receive one-on-one training, including a tasting with Hennessy’s master blender.

David Kennedy, Hennessy Northern Ireland
David Kennedy, Hennessy Northern Ireland

The winners will also receive a bespoke training session in Belfast with an Ambassadeur de la Maison Hennessy for themselves and their colleagues, tickets to special Hennessy 250 dinner in Belfast, as well as the opportunity to have their signature drinks showcased on Hennessy digital platforms.  The overall winner will also get the opportunity to attend the Hennessy Art of Mixology event in Cognac in September.

The international judging panel, including Vincent Borjon-Prive from Hennessy and Swanand Korgaonkar, head bartender at The Berkeley Hotel, London will put the bartenders through their paces, assessing them on two signature Hennessy drinks, as well as product knowledge.

One drink should be a classic serve, which would be easy for consumers to replicate at home; the second should be a cocktail serve, which can be as complex as the bartender desires.

Both drinks should embody the spirit of the Hennessy 250 celebrations, reflecting the vibrant heritage of Hennessy – one of the world’s leading Cognacs.

Commenting on the launch of the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge, Karen Anderson, brand manager for Hennessy at Dillon Bass, said: “As we celebrate 250 years of Hennessy, we are excited to offer local bartenders the opportunity to become part of the brand’s global celebrations.

“Our Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge has been designed to discover Northern Ireland’s finest and most talented mixologists, who can embody the spirit of Hennessy.  The winners will receive a once in a lifetime immersive training experience that money can’t buy.

“We anticipate that our international judging panel will face a tough task, with such a high standard of bartenders here in Northern Ireland.”

Entries for the Dillon Bass Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge are open now. Entries can be submitted via email to Entries close at midnight Tuesday 28th July 2015. Visit for full terms and conditions.

Share your Hennessy NI stories on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag, #Hennessy250

Picture by William Cherry, Press Eye.
Picture by William Cherry, Press Eye.

About the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge

· Bartenders must submit two drinks recipes, with ingredients and method, accompanying photos and/or videos, as well as a brief (max 250 words) explanation of how their drinks embody the spirit of the Hennessy 250 celebrations, reflecting the vibrant heritage of Hennessy.

· Recipes must contain a minimum of 35ml of Hennessy VS , Hennessy VSOP, or Hennessy Fine de Cognac (or a combination)

· Recipe 1: The Classic Serve – must be an easily replicated mixed drink or cocktail that could be reproduced by consumers at home.

· Recipe 2: The Creative Cocktail Serve – can be as creative as you desire.

· For full terms and conditions see

· Judges will assess bartenders on the taste and presentation of their drinks, as well as the inspiration behind their recipes and their technical/product knowledge.

· For full terms and conditions visit

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