Emporia Brands Release Their Festive Cocktail Recipes

PX Reserve

Here at Emporia Brands HQ, we asked a number of our award-winning brands to send us across their festive recipes, perfect to impress your friends and family with.

Ron Prohibido – ‘the forbidden rum’ – is a unique premium Latino rum from Mexico. Made in a traditional 12 year solera with a unique combination of column still rums, Ron Prohibido was, in the 17th century, shipped in used sweet wine barrels to Spain where the distinctive sweet and bitter taste it acquired during the voyage was much appreciated…so much so that local producers in Spain persuaded King Felipe V to ban it – hence “prohibido”, the forbidden rum. Now, over 300 years later, this delicious rum is available in the UK for the first time.

Try their simple ‘Prohibido’:

Glass: Mug


60 ml Ron Prohibido
2 tsp caster sugar
½ cup hot fresh coffee
1 cinnamon stick
Orange zest


Stir the coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Stir in Ron Prohibido and add the cinnamon and the strip of orange zest. Garnish with whipped cream, grated chocolate and grated orange zest.



Osborne is one of the oldest and most prestigious wine and spirit producers in Spain. Founded in 1772 by Thomas Osborne Mann to supply sherry to the UK, it remains 100% family owned, and is now run by the seventh generation.

The brightest vinous jewels in Osborne’s considerable crown are the very old rare sherries (vors). these are exceptional sherries from very special soleras, all of which were established nearly two centuries ago, and the solera for Sibarita is in fact the oldest in Jerez, dating back well over 200 years to 1792. These precious sherries have found worldwide acclaim, and are found on the lists of top restaurants around the world.

Try out their ‘PX Reserve’ recipe:

Glass: Coupette


40 ml Chairman’s Reserve
10 ml Osborne PX
2 dash Angostura


Stir all the ingredients within a mixing glass over ice, then strain into a coupette.


Founded in 1874, Gabriel Boudier is a family owned company famous around the world for its fruit liqueurs which are used by Michelin star chefs and in top cocktail bars in over 140 countries. Gabriel Boudier uses only the finest quality fresh fruit in its liqueurs with no artificial colourings, flavours or additives. In a unique process, the fruit is frozen immediately it is picked and then macerated six times a year to ensure the optimum freshness without oxidation.

Try their ‘Fruits of Dijon’ recipe:

Glass: Rocks


30 ml Gabriel Boudier Ginger
50 ml Distil No.9 vodka
50 ml Cranberry juice
1 dash Angostura


Shake all the ingredients within an ice filled shaker and strain over a ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with cherry stick.

Ron Prohibido, Gabriel Boudier and Osborne PX are all available from all leading retailers including Whisky Exchange, Latitude, Gerry’s, Corks Out and Wine Rack.

For more information on all these brands and Emporia Brands, please visit http://www.emporiabrands.com

Follow Emporia Brands on Twitter @EmporiaBrandsUK or Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmporiaBrands

Follow Ron Prohibido on Twitter @RonProhibido or Facebook at www.facebook.com/RonProhibidoUK

Follow Gabriel Boudier on Twiiter @Gabriel_Boudier or Facebook at www.facebook.com/GabrielBoudierUK


Martell Cordon Bleu Redesigned To Celebrate 300-Year Anniversary


French cognac house Martell has launched a redesign of its iconic Martell Cordon Bleu cognac, featuring design by London agency Nude Brand Creation.
The cognac house celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2015, and for Nude Brand Creation it was a privilege to be asked to honour Martell Cordon Bleu’s proud and unmatched heritage.

An Illustrious History

Martell is the oldest of the great Cognac Houses and more than one hundred years ago it gave the world Martell Cordon Bleu. Nude was briefed to update the packaging with a design that reflects the luxury nature of the product, a fresh and elegant presentation for this iconic cognac.

Nude would need to maintain the existing strengths of the current packaging including its simplicity, authenticity and consistency over time. Partner at Nude, Mike Parsonson, says: “Working on Martell Cordon Bleu was like a careful restoration project. There is so much brand history to respect and retain.”

A Careful Restoration

The Nude team has revived some of Martell Cordon Bleu’s history. The classic two-part label, whose storied past served as the inspiration for this redesign, has returned. The new Martell visual elements have been incorporated including the crest and swift. The signature of Edouard Martell is given prominent pride of place to honour Martell Cordon Bleu’s creator. Every element has been carefully considered. Nude worked closely with a hand-lettering artist to ensure the typography evokes the rich and luxurious side of the prestigious cognac.

“We were inspired by the brand’s rich history and wanted to celebrate its ageless elegance,” says Parsonson. “What is more, the reference to the historic two-part label and its modern interpretation and unusual shape should provide genuine stand-out on shelf.”

The end result is a carefully crafted update of an iconic French brand, which respects its history and its place in the world as a luxury drink.

Along with Martell Cordon Bleu, Nude has also updated the packaging for Martell VSOP which both launch during the brand’s 300th year.


Egg White

Giffard is a name that you may be familiar with if you’ve ever scanned the products of your favourite bar. A brand of liqueurs and syrups, Giffard have had a main-stay presence for over 100 years, and are still to this day consistently evolving their expressions to fit with the modern times. But how did such a company come about?

1885, the year that a gentleman named Emile Giffard was named as a dispensing pharmacist in Angers (Val de Loire) in France. His mind didn’t stop there though, as he undertook research on the digestive and refreshing properties of mint, and came up with a refined white mint liqueur. His test market happened to be the Grand Hotel’s customers, in order to relieve them from heat, and immediate success ensued. With this, Emile changed his pharmacy into a distillery and called his liqueur Menthe Pastille, referring to the mint sweets which were very famous at that time.

Four generations later, and here we are into the 21st Century, and still Giffard is under the Giffard family name.

1895 « La Dame et l’angelot » - 1st Menthe Pastille advertising poster created by Mitsi
1895 « La Dame et l’angelot » – 1st Menthe Pastille advertising poster created by Mitsi

Of course, the range of expressions have expanded, using fruits and plants that are bought in priority (for example, 100 % of the blackcurrant berries come from the Pays de Loire) either local to Giffard or further afield depending on the variety chosen.
A great example is the mint harvest every year. Edith Giffard enters the fields on the first day of harvest, with herself and Courivaud Olivier overseeing the crop and deciding when it is exactly the right moment to harvest. The Mitcham Peppermint plant that goes into Menthe Pastille production, and has been since Emile created the first run, needs to be harvested just before it flowers, meaning that the mint has reached its maturity and that the quality of its essential oil is at its maximum.

But how do we get from fruit and plants to liqueurs?

To extract the flavours and aromas from the fruits chosen, they are macerated into alcohol from 48 hours to 3 months depending on the necessary time to obtain that perfect blend between fruit and alcohol. After blending, it is filtered, quality controlled and then bottled.

An expression I’d like to draw attention to though is the new Giffard Egg White. Created for those egg white based cocktails such as Sours, this is a syrup that mixes egg white with sugar cane. Released in 2015, it shows Giffard and their innovative ideas to combat many a bartenders nightmare of running low on eggs for a round of Amaretto Sours. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Giffard Egg White – 0%

A clean nose, with soft hints of the sweet sugar and fresh egg notes. A thin texture, light egg white rounded off with natural sweetness. Doesn’t stick too much and offers a cleaner finish than expected.

As expected, it works great in some of these –

Pisco Sour

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

30 ml Giffard Egg White
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
60 ml Pisco

Method – 

Put a single ice-cube and all the ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously until you don’t hear the ice-cube on the shaker walls. Pour into a coupette.

or perhaps,

Amaretto Sour

Glass – 


Ingredients –

20 ml Giffard Egg White
30 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
60 ml Amaretto

Method –

Put a single ice-cube and all the ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously until you don’t hear the ice-cube on the shaker walls. Pour into a coupette.

Of course, as mentioned above, Giffard create numerous fruit flavoured liqueurs and syrups, including a range of 15 Crèmes de fruits and classic flavours such as blue curaçao, triple sec or apricot, as well as specific ones such as rhubarb, violet or pineapple. These will be added as and when experienced, but in the meantime, take a great way to create some classic cocktails at home with the Egg White variation and impress your friends and family with a round of Sours!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



A third brand that I came across on my French travels a few weeks back is Lecompte, a rather small yet equally stunning range of Calvados. It’s in 1923 that Alexandre Lecompte created the Lecompte House in Lisieux, and built the brand until its sale to Yves Pellerin. Seen as the premium end of the Calvados category and essentially created for the connoisseurs, Lecompte’s distillery ‘La Morinière’ within Notre-Dame-de-Courson, offers a substantial amount of old stock, created by two traditional stills for double distillation.

But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Lecompte 12yr – 40%

Very soft upon the nose with clotted fudge and vanilla notes coming through. Light on the palate, with hints of nuts and liquorice, followed by a slight fudge flavour that smooths out a dry finish.

Lecompte Secret
Lecompte Secret

Lecompte 18yr – 40%

Light fudge with a slight vanilla essence on the nose. Tropical fruit flavours on the palate, honey and apple, with memories of rum. Dry banana on the long finish.

Lecompte Multi-Vintage – 40%

Aged from stock laid in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Banana and soft fudge combine on the nose, with a light, soft offering of tropical spices and banana leaf that leaves a sweet finish.

Lecompte Secret – 40%

Using blends as old as 1923, with a minimum of 42 years. Rich on the nose with plenty of apple and oak blending perfectly. Both flavours carry onto the palate, with dark cocoa, raisin and a developing spice creating a very long and dry finish.

The Lecompte Secret has a rather interesting back story to it, with the following taken from the Lecompte website;

Eighty-five years after Maison Lecompte was first established, the new owners entrusted Richard Prével, a third-generation
Cellar Master, with the task of crafting the most extraordinary, the most perfect and the most complete Calvados ever made. Richard Prével spent five years blending, and composing hundreds of combinations of Lecompte’s precious eaux-de-vie. During the course of this tireless quest for perfection, he made an incredible discovery: several barrels laid down
by the founder of Maison Lecompte, undisturbed since 1923. This timeless treasure, crafted from over 100 individual eaux-de-vie, provided the finishing touch to a blend which was already exceptional.

I’m very lucky to have tried this, especially with its price tag, and it truly is one of the best Calvados expressions I have had. If the price puts you off though, the younger ages can offer some great recipes instead –

Le Bandista
Le Bandista

Le Bandista

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

50 ml Lecompte 12yr Calvados
10 ml Cherry Brandy Morand
160 ml Fresh apple juice
2 slices Fresh ginger
½ stem Fresh lemongrass
3-4 drops Fresh lime juice

Method – 

In a shaker, put the Calvados with fresh ginger and lemongrass and muddle all. Add the cherry brandy, fresh apple juice and a few drops of lime juice. Shake, strain and pour over ice.

or perhaps 

Lecompte Old School
Lecompte Old School

Lecompte Old School

Glass –


Ingredients – 

60 ml Calvados Lecompte 12yr
20 ml Saint Germain
3 dashes Chartreuse Elixir

Method – 

Pour the ingredients into a shaker and shake. Pour into a highball filled with ice and garnish with a range of apple encrusted with currant.

Although probably one of the more exclusive ranges of Calvados available, if you love the category, you need at least one of the expressions in your life. And the Secret? Wow.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel over to France and check out a criminally underrated category of spirit here in the UK; Calvados. Originally attending to see one of the main distilleries of Calvados, I was to find out that Boulard was to be not far down the road. Having the chance to experience another distillery and their creations is always a fantastic honour, and I duly share with you what I came across. But first, a bit on the Boulard brand itself –

Boulard Extra Calvados Pays d'Auge
Boulard Extra Calvados Pays d’Auge

Boulard, or Calvados Boulard as it is written correctly, started out back in 1825 by Pierre-Auguste Boulard, and are now into their 5th generation with Vincent Boulard the current manager. With a varied range, and some of the most striking of bottle and label designs, Calvados Boulard has been one of the leading Calvados brands in the world. With not much on the way of significant history, it’s the liquid that kick-starts the talking, so below, I give to you my tasting notes on my experiences so far –

Boulard XO Auguste Calvados Pays d’Auge – 40%

A blend of 6 to 15 years and named in homage to Pierre Auguste. Fresh apple with flavours of sweet fudge on the nose. Plenty of fruits on the palate, with a sharp citrus cutting through drawing out a long, bitter finish.

Boulard Extra Calvados Pays d’Auge – 40%

Soft upon the nose with a slight cocoa, vanilla and almond mix. The cocoa returns on the palate, with a candied orange and lingering tobacco leaf on the palate for a long, aromatic finish.

Also under the Boulard banner are expressions including Hors d’Age 12yr, and XO, VSOP and Grand Solage, all of which have won awards over the years. It’s these expressions that are perfect for expanding your palate towards cocktails –

Calvados Sidecar
Calvados Sidecar

Calvados Sidecar

Glass – 


Ingredients –

45 ml Calvados Boulard V.S.O.P.
25 ml Orange Liquor
25 ml Lemon Juice

Method – 

Pour the orange liqueur with lemon juice and Calvados in a shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a glass. Garnish with orange zest.

or perhaps 

Apple Fashioned

Apple Fashioned
Apple Fashioned

Glass –

Old Fashioned

Ingredients – 

60 ml Calvados Boulard Grand Solage
1 barspoon Sugar
1 dash Orange Bitter
1 dash Old Fashioned Bitters

Method – 

In an old-fashioned glass, pour the sugar and add bitters and ice. Mix for 20 seconds, add the Calvados and stir again during 15 seconds. Garnish with a slice of apple.

Worthy of inclusion within your drinks cabinet, even if theirs not much to talk about in regards to history. As mentioned though, it’s the liquid that does the talking, and just look at them bottles!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gabriel Boudier

Gabriel Boudier

These past few months I’ve been working closely with a French range of liqueurs and helping to develop the general awareness within both the bar community as well as customer focus. It’s fitting then that it’s about time I check the range and feature them within my site, exploring the reasoning why Gabriel Boudier are launching a huge awareness campaign here in the UK for 2015 and beyond, backing up its winning titles from the International Spirits Challenge Liqueur Trophy as best producer in the world for 2013 and 2014, and in 2014 The Supreme Champion Trophy.

Gabriel Boudier is a family owned company, founded in the house of Fontbonne in Dijon, France back in 1874. Back then, there were over 50 companies in Burgundy creating and producing fruit liqueurs, but in modern times that number has dwindled down to just six, with Gabriel Boudier the only independently owned. In 1909, Gabriel Boudier took over the house of Fontbonne and renamed it with his own name, whilst keeping the making of Crème de Cassis de Dijon and liqueurs. He established the business at Boulevard de Strasbourg in Dijon where it continued to develop until his death in 1918. In 1936, his widow sold the house to Marcel Battault, who made the decision to keep the Gabriel Boudier trading name. After eventually handing the company to his nephew Pierre Battault, the company moved to Rue de Cluj in Dijon in 1969 to allow for expansion and development.

So what do the Battault family pride themselves upon to create Gabriel Boudier?

The picking baskets are designed by Gabriel Boudier to ensure that the fruit is not crushed when harvested, and avoiding early oxidisation. The fruit is then preserved the day of the harvest by utilising a freeze drying technique, and then batch producing throughout the year to ensure every production is a fresh as it can be. Once the batch of the required fruit is sent to the distillery, it is gently crushed and macerated within a water-alcohol solution for a certain amount of time depending on the fruit. The use of a water-alcohol mixture acts as a solvent and preservative primarily for the aromas within the fruit’s pectin, the natural sugars or fructose. The finished juice is sweetened with sugar to be classed as a liqueur.

If the intended liqueur is more of a citrus base, distillation methods are used. For example, the Poires Williams is a blend of the two methods, the first being maceration to give the colour of the pear, the ‘oil’ texture, natural sugars and its ‘heady’ aromas, whilst the subtle aromas of pear are created by the form of distillation. Once finished, they are brought together and sweetened with sugar.

The company prides itself upon using fresh fruit from all over the world, with strictly no artificial flavourings or additives. With this ethos, they have been creating what is termed the ‘Iconic’ range, including the highly acclaimed Crème de Cassis de Dijon, since the beginning. But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gabriel Boudier 'Bartender' Range
Gabriel Boudier ‘Bartender’ Range

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis de Dijon – 20%

Made using three varieties of blackcurrant: Noir de Bourgogne, Royal de Naples & Blackdown, all picked at optimum ripeness. The liqueur is made by a unique process: first, the fruit is frozen within one hour of picking to avoid any possibility of oxidation. The frozen fruit is then released from cold store and macerated as required (six times per year) and when fully saturated it is bottled at 20% abv.
Rich blackcurrant aromas upon the nose, with dark kicks blending with a fragrant finish of stemmed currants. Incredibly rich and fresh on the palate, with a little tartness coming through. Slightly dry, but with a long finish.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Pêches – 18%

Obtained by macerating selected white peach varieties, including the vine peach. Sweet aromas of peach on the nose, with the rich freshness coming through. Light peach on the palate however, fragrant and short with a dry finish.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Fraises a la Fraise des Bois – 20%

Obtained by macerating selected strawberry varieties, including the wild strawberry. Sweet aromas of strawberry on the nose, like strawberry cheesecake. Fragrant on the finish. Rich with a very sweet texture on the palate, producing a lingering fragrant finish.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises – 20%

Obtained by macerating selected raspberry varieties from Scotland and Burgundy. Fresh, tart aromas of raspberry on the nose, with an herbal scent coming through slightly. Well-balanced on the palate, with the sweetness coming through alongside the dryness of the fresh raspberry. Thin on the long finish, albeit a little dry.

There’s one other within the ‘Iconic’ range which I am yet to experience, Crème de Mûres Sauvages. Gabriel Boudier also prides itself upon its ‘Bartenders’ range, introduced in 2008 following extensive discussions and research with top bartenders around the world into what they required for their professional work.

Gabriel Boudier Passion Fruit – 20%

Rich, fresh aromas of passion fruit and mango on the nose, with an underlining sweetness. Thin, tart texture on the palate, with the passion fruit kicking in to a sweet, long, rich finish.

Gabriel Boudier Lychee – 20%

Soft, sweet hits of lychee on the nose. Creamy texture on the palate, with very thin notes of the lychee. Fragrant, velvet and incredibly dry on the finish.

Gabriel Boudier Pink Grapefruit – 15%

Incredibly fragrant, with sweet, ripe grapefruit aromas on the nose. Very thick upon the palate, with fresh bursts of the grapefruit create a very dry finish.

Gabriel Boudier Apricot Brandy – 24%

Fully ripe apricots are macerated in brandy. The apricot flavoured spirit is then removed and a small dose of sugar added as well as a tiny amount of peach.
Fragrant, sweet aromas of apricot on the nose. Scents of the brandy follow nicely. Thick, creamy texture on the palate, with the sweet apricot creating a sharp, ripe finish. A little dry as it lingers.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Melon Vert – 20%

Uses green melons from Honduras and China. Very rich, with a slight fragrant tartness on the nose from the melon. Thin texture, with the fresh melon giving a clean-cut palate. A fragrant finish that carries for a while, with a little sweetness.

Gabriel Boudier Cherry Brandy – 24%

Made by blending black and bitter cherries of three different varieties. Dark cherry aromas on the nose, stemmed with a deep biscuit base. Bold, slightly tart with a dry cherry finish. Short, clean and plenty of subtle cherry flavours.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises & Thym
Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises & Thym

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cacao (clear) – 15%

Obtained by distilling previously roasted Ivory Coast cocoa beans. Rich cocoa on the nose, with a slight sweetness followed by milk cream aromas. Very thin texture upon the palate, with the natural cocoa bean flavours dominating to a long creamy finish.

There are many other flavours available within the range, including curaçao bleu, triple sec, crème de menthe, pomegranate, ginger, mango and rhubarb. Another sub-category so-to-speak, is the Bernard Loiseau range. This range of premium liqueurs was launched in the UK in Spring 2010 and were developed in collaboration with Gabriel Boudier by Chef Patrick Bertron and Sommelier Eric Goettelmann at the 3 Michelin stars Relais Bernard Loiseau in Burgundy, in memory of the eponymous Chef who died in 2003.

Gabriel Boudier Crème de Framboises & Thym – 20%

A great blend of fresh thyme and subtle tart raspberry upon the nose. Light, thin texture with the thyme dominating first upon the palate. The raspberry flavours come through, offering a base finish that’s slightly sweet with a dry herbal finish.

Others within the Bernard Loiseau range include morello cherry & chocolate, peach & hibiscus flower, blackcurrant & gingerbread as well as apple and earl grey tea, seen as perfect for digestifs and even in the French style of aperitifs.

Looking away from the liqueur category a little, Gabriel Boudier entered the gin world with the release of Saffron, a French colonial recipe of eight natural botanicals rediscovered by the brand. This handcrafted, small batch pot distilled gin is made from natural botanicals – saffron, juniper, coriander, lemon, orange peel, angelica seeds, iris and fennel.

Saffron – 40%

Light on the nose with a sweet honey coming through. Rather floral on the palate, essence of perfume is present, but rather short.

Phew, quite a range here, which as you can imagine, throws into the arena some great recipes to enjoy –

Red Punch
Red Punch

Red Punch

Glass – 

Champagne Flute

Ingredients –

90 ml of Curaçao Triple Sec Gabriel Boudier
90 ml of Cognac
60 ml of Liqueur de Framboise
Some fruits according the season
1 Orange
1 bottle of Champagne

Method – 

Pour the whole Champagne bottle in a big container of ice. Add the cognac, the liqueurs, the orange juice and the fruit cut in small cubes. Stir, pour and serve.

or perhaps,

Colonial Raspberry
Colonial Raspberry

Colonial Raspberry

Glass – 


Ingredients –

50 ml of Saffron Gin
25 ml of Gabriel Boudier Raspberry Liqueur
5 Raspberries
35 ml of white of the egg
Lemon juice

Method – 

Crush the raspberries and mix all the ingredients in a shaker. Shake over ice and fine strain into a Martini glass.

Some great ideas, and a truly unique range where they pride themselves on the use of fresh fruit. I also like the interaction with the bartender world, being able to listen to the demands and create a flavoured spirit in response. Ultimately that means that the customers are broadening their palates, with Gabriel Boudier at the beck-and-call to bring those tantalising flavours to reality. Grab a couple of bottles for your collection and be a part of the French revolution this year!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gabriel Boudier Offer The Chance To Win A Liqueur Masterclass In Dijon, France, At The Northern Restaurant And Bar

1207_Reportage_Boudier11A VIP visit to Dijon, France is the prize for the winner of the Gabriel Boudier Cocktail Competition, to be staged at The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show in Manchester on Wednesday 18th March at 3:15pm.

Hosted once again by Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast, who is working alongside Emporia Brands, the distributors for the French based liqueurs here in the UK.

Competitors will be asked to submit two drinks. The first recipe must be a signature serve containing at least 10 ml of any expression from the Gabriel Boudier Iconic range, whilst the second recipe must be a signature serve containing at least 15 ml of any expression from the Gabriel Boudier Bartender range. The two recipes are a free-reign to create two unique cocktails worthy of the grand prize. A maximum time limit of 10 minutes on the main stage will be given in which both cocktails will be re-created for the judging panel.

The winner will visit Dijon as the guest of Gabriel Boudier, who beat off the challenge from the world’s finest liqueur distilleries to take the trophy for Supreme Champion two years running. The visit will include liqueur training in Dijon and the chance to share expertise with the Battault family, creators of the range, as well as plenty of opportunity to find out why Dijon, the gateway to Burgundy, is seen as one of the most beautiful cities in France.

Scotland based entrants should submit interest to Ed Baird (ed@emporiabrands.com), whilst London based entrants should submit interest to Gavin McGowan-Madoo (gavin@emporiabrands.com). The deadline for both is Monday 23rd February. An entry form will be sent to all interested bartenders in view of competing in the respective regional heat.

For the rest of the UK, entrants should direct themselves to the entry form found on the Northern Bar and Restaurant website (http://www.northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/content/Cocktail-Competition-with-Gabriel-Boudier) with their recipes by midnight on Friday 27th February. 2 finalists will be notified on Monday 2nd March and invited to demonstrate their recipes on the Drinks Live stage at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show, alongside the winners from the London and Scotland heats.

Gabriel Boudier expressions and basic bar equipment will be supplied at the final, with all other ingredients, garnishes and glassware to be provided by the competitor. No electrical equipment can be used on stage.

Judges, including respected industry figure Simon Difford, will be scoring for knowledge on the Gabriel Boudier brand, the appearance and presentation of the drinks, the aromas of the cocktails and finally how it tastes.

For the full list of Gabriel Boudier expressions, please see www.emporiabrands.com. Available through Coe Vintners, Speciality Drinks and Venus, as well as online retailers including MasterOfMalt.com, and TheDrinkShop.com

The World’s Leading Bartenders Cause A Stir At The First Noilly Prat Classic Dry Martini Cocktail Challenge

Noilly Prat Martini


NOILLY PRAT®, one of the world’s finest French vermouths, kicked off its first ever International Noilly Prat classic dry martini challenge on 1 September 2014 with some of the world’s best bartenders judged by leading drinks experts. In recognition of Noilly Prat’s rightful place in the history of this iconic cocktail, 2 of the 4 markets participating have already caused a stir at the brand’s home in Marseillan showcasing their individual take on the classic dry martini cocktail. With the winners from the DachNordic and UK markets having been selected, there will be fierce competition at the upcoming heats with the French and US markets in early 2015 to earn the all expenses paid trip to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic in New York in May 2015.


What better setting to host the Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge than at the home of Noilly Prat, situated in the pretty fishing village of Marseillan that overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The challenge begins with an exclusive tour of La Maison Noilly Prat where both competitors and judges are given the opportunity to discover the closely guarded secrets of creating Noilly Prat.

From the tasting of the local grape varietals picpoul and clairette that are used in the creation of Noilly Prat Original Dry, to the discovery of the unique outdoor ageing process of L’Enclos and the time-honoured process used to blend the secret recipe of herbs and spices, the guests uncover over 200 years of history and heritage, which has made Noilly Prat world-renowned amongst the top on-trade.


Having been immersed into the long-standing craftsmanship of Louis Noilly’s original recipe, the bartenders were charged with the seemingly simple, but notoriously complex challenge of creating the world’s best tasting classic dry martini cocktail at Le Bar Noilly Prat. Participants were judged on the complete experience, from the serving ritual and storytelling through to the temperature, glassware and taste of the serve, which must use only 3 ingredients.


With the winner from the DachNordic market, Gabriel Daun, and the winner from the UK market, Steve Lawson with his serve French Pride, we wait with anticipation to discover the winner of the French and US heats, with the international winner of the Noilly Prat classic dry martini cocktail challenge being announced in April 2015.

Discover A Unique Taste Of The South Of France At La Maison Noilly Prat


Just 45 minutes drive away from Montpellier lies the home of La Maison Noilly Prat, nestled in the enchanting fishing village of Marseillan overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Immerse yourself in the local traditions and culture of this quiet town to discover the 2 things that Marseillan is most famously known for: the local Bouzigues oysters and NOILLY PRAT®.


Marseillan has been the home of Noilly Prat for over 200 years and was selected by Louis Noilly due to its coastal location. Noilly Prat Original Dry is created using a unique ageing process inspired by the transportation of wines in the 19th century on the decks of sailing ships where the sea spray and effect of the four seasons left its powerful mark on the wines. In L’Enclos, a walled enclosure located in the centre of La Maison Noilly Prat, hundreds of oak barrels are exposed to the natural elements for 12 months before the wines are macerated with a secret recipe of around 20 herbs and spices. The local eateries surrounding the Marseillan harbour proudly savour and serve this unique liquid as a Noilly Prat Original Dry L’Apéritif.


Alongside creating one of the world’s finest vermouths, Marseillan also produces some of the world’s best oysters, huîtres de Bouzigues. Bouzigues oysters come from the local oyster beds located on the Étang de Thau – the largest of a string of lagoons (étangs) that stretch along the French coast and feeds into the Mediterranean Sea.

The creaminess of Noilly Prat’s neighbouring oysters perfectly complements the unique taste of Noilly Prat Original Dry with its floral nose, citrus notes and long-lasting herbal finish. Simply pour 2 parts Noilly Prat Original Dry into a wine glass over ice and stir once to unlock the herbal aromas. Finally, twist a peel of lemon to release its essential oils and lift the notes of bitter orange, one of the key botanicals used to craft Noilly Prat Original Dry.

Guests of local hotel Port Rive Gauche can enjoy a chilled glass of Noilly Prat at their leisure whilst taking in the panoramic views of the Étang de Thau’s blue lagoon decorated with its famous oyster tables. Santé!


With over 300 sunny days a year, any season is the perfect time to visit Marseillan. The iconic home of Noilly Prat is open to guests eager to discover the rich culture, authenticity and history of one of the world’s finest French vermouths and for a limited time only Noilly Prat will also be offering VIP visits. During the VIP tour guests will be guided through the unique production process of creating Noilly Prat, from the Chai des Mistelles to the dramatic arena of L’Enclos and the time-honoured process of the dodinage, before taking part in a cocktail masterclass held in Le Bar Noilly Prat. Here expert bartenders will unveil the secrets of their art and demonstrate how to create some of the world’s most timeless cocktails at home. Tickets start from €45 per person.

Grey Goose Introduces VX: Vodka Exceptionelle

Grey Goose VX

GREY GOOSE®, The World’s Best Tasting vodka, announces the launch of an extraordinary new, ultra-premium expression of GREY GOOSE – GREY GOOSE VX. A spirit like no other, the liquid combines GREY GOOSE vodka with precious drops of cognac.

François Thibault, the creator of GREY GOOSE whose passion for crafting extraordinary spirits was fostered as a Maître De Chai (cellar master) in the Cognac region, has once again defied convention with the introduction of this spirit that draws on exceptional French craftsmanship and heritage, yet is truly innovative. GREY GOOSE VX, which stands for GREY GOOSE Vodka Exceptionelle, is masterfully created from drops of cognac grapes drawn exclusively from the Grande Champagne cru, regarded by many connoisseurs as the very finest of the six cru within the region.

“From its inception, GREY GOOSE has always pioneered new and exciting territories,” said Thibault. “In creating GREY GOOSE VX, I wanted to capture the aromatic notes of a precious cognac, bringing its delicate essence of orchard fruits, plum, apricot and the mild flavours of wild honey to the remarkable character of GREY GOOSE vodka.”

The rich, subtle taste of GREY GOOSE VX conveys a harmonious balance of white fruit blossom, honeysuckle and violet with hints of apricot and a long, lingering finish. The balance is subtle, harmonious and rich, yet delicate with a long, full finish. The recommended serve is on the rocks in a balloon glass.

GREY GOOSE VX is presented in an exquisite decanter made from ‘extra flint’ glass, which is known for its exceptional quality. The bottle shape and fine detailing are inspired by historical French decanters, with rounded shoulders and a pronounced heavy-set stopper, while still retaining contemporary design cues from the original GREY GOOSE bottle.

“This really is a significant change for the white spirits category,” commented Nick Marshall, GREY GOOSE Brand Director. “It expands the vodka experience for luxury spirits connoisseurs across both white and dark categories. It is a serious demonstration of how GREY GOOSE can shape the future as part of our continuing commitment to drive innovation and category growth.”

70cl GREY GOOSE VX will be available in leading partner bars in London from Spring 2015 and for purchase in select premium airport locations in London, New York and Paris from September 2014.

For tasting notes on the VX as well as the rest of the range, please see my feature on the brand here.