Jonathan Arthur wins Courvoisier Toast of Paris title

02 June, 2017

British Bartender Jonathan Arthur has won the global final of Courvoisier Toast of Paris 2017, a cocktail competition focused on the Cognac category.

Competing bartenders were judged by a panel of experts on the flavor of their drinks and the marketing behind them, and Edinburgh-born Arthur, lifted the trophy on 16 May at The Secret Gallery in Paris after beating competitors from Germany, Austria, France and Canada.

The bartenders were given 15 minutes to present two drinks to the panel of judges, which included industry legend Salvatore Calabrese, BNIC Cognac ambassador David Boileau, and global Courvoisier brand ambassador Rebecca Asseline.

Asseline said: “Jonathan’s drinks are perfectly balanced and I’m completely in love with his interpretation of an aperitif-style drink, Réunion.  

“It’s clear that he understands the cognac category and demonstrated his knowledge of Courvoisier through the story behind his drink. The judges were captivated.”

One of Arthur’s drinks, called Réunion, was inspired by daytime aperitifs and the Parisian cafe culture, while his second drink, Demi-Monde, was inspired by the night and Golden Age of Paris.

Arthur and other finalists of Courvoisier's Toast of Paris Globals 2017, Mike Jordhoy (Canada), Sarah Deuss (Germany), André Rigaud (France), and Dominik Oswald (Austria) were given an industry talk by Calabrese, who also shared stories from his time behind the bar.

Arthur added: "The whole experience has been incredible. It's really hard to put into words just how amazing it has been.

“The last few days have been really educational but also really fun. I've really enjoyed meeting so many amazing people and learning about the history of Courvoisier. The trip was a prize in itself.”

The finalists visited one of Courvoisier's distilleries in Jarnac to learn about the process of making Cognac. From there they went to Chateau Courvoisier where they received a masterclass from Zahra Bates and learned about the deep heritage of the brand before paying a visit to one of the older cellars that houses Courvoisier.

After a celebratory dinner with Courvoisier master blender Patrice Pinet, they were led down to the famous Paradis cellar for a tasting of three rare blends of Cognac where Arthur was presented with a crystal decanter filled with his favourite of the three blends.

Arthur continued: “A highlight for me was visiting the Paradis cellars and being honoured with choosing such an incredible blend.”

Arthur’s winning drinks:


30ml Courvoisier VSOP

12.5ml Absentroux

2.5ml Suze

2 Dashes Celery, Cucumber and Caraway tincture

15ml fresh Lemon juice

12.5ml Fennel syrup

Method: Shake and Double strain over block ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a Fennel Sprig


60ml Courvoisier VSOP

12.5ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry

4 Dashes Peychaud's bitters

Laphroaig 10 (spray)

Method: Stir down and decant into a chilled goblet sprayed with Laphroaig. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry stuffed with a dark chocolate coated coffee bean.

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Nick Strangeway

Bar food's blurred lines

Once upon a time pubs and bars were somewhere you went with the sole purpose of getting pissed and there wasn’t a knife and fork in sight, just a packet of dry roasted nuts.