The Winning Cocktail From the Inaugural Philippine Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Contest
What more can we say about the 1738 Accord Royal? As far cognacs go, this Rémy Martin masterpiece is as rich and prestigious as it gets. Hey, it might have something to do with the history, which honors the Accord Royal granted by King Louis XV to Rémy Martin in 1738 through its name. It could also be because of the interesting smooth okay blend (the combination of floral, fruity, spicy, and toasted flavors), which just makes it versatile for dinner pairings. What the hell. Whatever. It's the 1738, goddamnit.
It's even better with cocktails, too. Interestingly, the French spirits house introduced barrel-ageing cocktail competitions in recent years to showcase the best of what the cognac could be, given the right mix. Rémy Martin began hosting barrel-ageing competitions in Asia back in 2020. It had first been held in China and most recently Singapore in 2022 before. But the tradition dates back to centuries ago (dating back to around 350 B.C., some will say).
Barrel ageing is a delicate process that involves using wood to change the flavor of the barrel contents through maturation. Alongside the types of casks and duration of ageing, the size of the barrel also affects the taste profile of the end product. What makes this especially difficult with Rémy is that the legacy brand only uses oak from the French region of Limousin. In this area, the oak is more porous and offers a pronounced flavor profile that is heavy on the vanilla. This is the reason why no two barrels produce the same cocktail, adding to the beauty of the competition.
The contest recently arrived in the Philippines, as well. Mixologists from the leading bars and restaurants in Metro Manila were invited to the meet. With a set of mixologists that include Melody Joy Lim and Mark Clarenz Tagbago from the Baccarat Room Bar at Solaire Resorts and Casino, as well as Mandrake Ferrer and Karl Kristof Victor from The Curator, contestants at The Ministry at Shangri-La, The Fort were asked to create a distinct new cocktail mix.
Champions John Ardy Silva and Duane Legaspi from Ruby Wong's Godown.
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Each were to age the 1738 Accord Royal in a barrel and conceptualize a cocktail highlighting the distinct fruity flavor and oaky smoothness. They were to present their drink to the panel, which had been comprised of multi-awarded bar and beverage consultant Arkadiusz Rybak, food and drink journalist Cyrene De La Rosa, and Rémy Cointreau Philippines Chief Representative Edgardo Guzman, among others.
Coming out on top was Filipino bartenders John Ardy Silva and Duane Legaspi from Ruby Wong's Godown. Called the “Avant-Garde," the winning duo's blend was a classic-meets-modern affair, resulting in a balanced aged drink. The vermouth and umeshu, of course, together with an added punch of olive cordial, just added more character to it. Suffice to say, the judges were pleased.
"In the end, what we looked at primarily was the creativity and balance of the cocktail and how they highlighted or maximized the use of the key element," said Rémy Martin Ambassador Kathrin Osmillo, "which is the barrel-aged cognac, and the harmony of the drink and music chosen for the presentation. Those factors had a big impact on determining the final winner."
Say hello to your new signature cocktail, the Avant-Garde
Better save that recipe for your next house party, aye?
To learn more about Rémy Martin and its products, visit its official website here.