Finalists of the 2012 Essay and Cocktail Competition

Congratulations to the 2012 Finalists
Amongst the dozens of entries, five have been chosen to compete in the live finals to be held May 15th in New York City during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic.  Benjamin Augustine from Sepia Restaurant in Chicago, Brian Matthys from Le Bernardin in New York City, Joshua Pearson from Sepia Restaurant in Chicago, and Ezra Star from Drink in Boston will compete in a live cocktail competition for a chance to win a trip to Cognac, France to become a certified Cognac Connoisseur or a coveted scholarship to the BAR 5-Day Advanced Program held once a year in New York City.  Clint Rogers from The Gage and Henri in Chicago was also chosen as a finalist, but will be unable to compete in New York.

Presentation, Competition and Celebration
The live cocktail competition is part of a full day of Cognac immersion during the exclusive Industry Invitational at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic!  Learn more about Cognac through presentation, competition and celebration!  It all starts with a seminar geared to understanding the influences of terroir, regionality, and the magic of oak aging, through blind tasting and cocktails; followed by The Essay and Cocktail Competition National Finals; and ending in a celebration of 200 years of Cognac Cocktails, 1812-2012, featuring our favorite Cognac cocktail recipes through history, crafted by the partners of BAR, with special guest appearances by the BAR family of superstar bartender graduates!

Experience Cognac Platform
One of the most comprehensive bartender training programs in the U.S., Experience Cognac is a fun, qualitative tool for U.S. bartenders and mixologists to learn about Cognac, from the vineyards to the shaker.  Designed by six of the world’s leading spirits and cocktails authorities—Steve Olson, Andy Seymour, David Wondrich, F. Paul Pacult, Doug Frost, and Dale DeGroff—Experience Cognac leads bartenders on an exploration of Cognac and also offers tips, cocktail recipes and food pairing suggestions.

Visitors to can learn about Cognac’s history and production from F. Paul Pacult and Doug Frost, discover Cognac’s role in American cocktail history with David Wondrich, or explore Cognac’s role in modern day mixology with Dale DeGroff and Andy Seymour.  This is a unique opportunity to learn through the eyes of some of America’s greatest spirits experts!

Stay Tuned
Follow the Cognac Maniacs Facebook page ( to learn more about exciting upcoming events, including Discovering Le Cognac seminars held in cities across the country.


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