Nearly a dozen of the best bartenders in Northern Ireland have been named as finalists in the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge.

On Tuesday August 18 in Robinson and Cleaver 11 of the biggest movers and shakers on Belfast’s cocktail scene will compete to win a prestigious training scholarship with the world’s most iconic cognac brand.

The 11 finalists in the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge are:

  • Adam Mark, The National Grande Café
  • Ashley Williamson, The Cloth Ear
  • Dominic Armstrong, Fitzwilliam Hotel Belfast
  • Francesca Dalton, Miel et Moi
  • Ian McCandless, The Northern Whig
  • Nathaniel McAuley, Muriel’s Café Bar
  • Roisin McErlean, The Albany
  • Frankie Cosgrove, Sixty6
  • Nicole Kane, The Merchant Hotel
  • Patrick Graham, The Albany
  • Ryan Adair, The Merchant Hotel

The Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge has been created by drinks company, Dillon Bass – owners of the Hennessy brand in Northern Ireland – to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the cognac.

Prizes up for grabs include a VIP 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, a bespoke training session with an Ambassadeur de la Maison Hennessy, tickets to a special Hennessy 250 dinner and the opportunity to have their signature drinks showcased by the brand.  The overall winner will also get the opportunity to attend the Hennessy Art of Mixology event in Cognac in September.

An international judging panel, including Vincent Borjon-Prive from Hennessy and Swanand Korgaonkar, head bartender at The Berkeley Hotel, London, will put the 11 bartenders through their paces, assessing them on two signature Hennessy drinks, as well as product knowledge and personality to champion the brand.

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