Cognac Connection Challenge 2021

Calling ALL bartenders & mixologists!

The second annual Cognac Connection Challenge is now accepting entries for the best Cognac cocktail! Submit yours for a chance to win $1,000 and a virtual visit of the Cognac region with local experts!

Cognac is a versatile cocktail ingredient, and we are on the hunt for the next best Cognac cocktail made by America’s best bartenders. Do you have a cocktail you are particularly proud of?

Entry Requirements:

Entries must include the following:

  • Detailed recipe
  • Photo of finished cocktail. (Note: image is for style reference and can be done on a smartphone.)
  • Headshot of entrant: Please include a photo of yourself that we could post on social media, website, articles, press releases.
  • Short answer responses to these questions on the entry form (max 500 words total):
    • What is one thing you have learned about cognac during this program that you didn’t know - did anything in particular surprise or inspire you?
    • Why did you choose the certain category (VS, VSOP, XO) of cognac for your cocktail?
    • Do you know the secret code from the Cognac Webinar? (see below)
  • Entries will be accepted between Friday June 25, 2021 - Tuesday, August 31, 2021
  • One entry per person, must be solely the original work of the entrant
  • Entries must complete the entry form in its entirety here
  • Entries must be in English.
  • Entries must not allude to the overconsumption or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
  • Entries that do not include all required information and do not adhere to the foregoing and following requirements will be considered void and will not be considered in the judging of this contest.
  • Entries that are deemed by the Sponsor in its sole discretion to be illegal, obscene, profane or not in keeping with the Sponsor’s image will be disqualified.
  • Follow these Instagram accounts for the latest on the challenge and all things Cognac! @CognacUSA and @Speed_Rack
  • 2020 winners cannot enter this year


  • 10 winners will be selected by September 15, 2021. Winners will be notified via email.
  • The prize is comprised of two elements:
    • A scholarship award in the amount of $1,000 US.
    • A Virtual Visit of the Cognac region with local experts

Judging Criteria:

Cocktails will be evaluated based on taste, aroma and balance: the whole experience when drinking the cocktail.

Total of 100 points available

Eighty (80 points) available for the cocktail recipe:

  • Cocktail Appearance: How does the cocktail look? 5 points
  • Originality and Creativity: Any unusual combination? 25 points
  • Technique: 5 points (This is how clearly you describe the execution of the cocktail for recreation)
  • Taste: 45 points

The remaining twenty (20) points can be earned as follows: :

  • 10 points for attending the entire educational webinar (via Zoom live on July 20 or link on and enter the secret code in the entry form
  • 10 points for a dedicated Instagram feed post. Must include relevant tags and hashtags: #CognacConnection, @CognacUSA, @Speed_Rack, @VinePair.
  • All links available on


  • All submissions will be reviewed by VinePair to ensure each contestant has fully completed the form and is eligible to compete.
  • All completed submissions will then be blind judged by the panel, which is defined as evaluating only the recipe and essay submissions while not considering the name, city, or account of the Competitor.
  • The panel of judges includes Speed Rack co-founders (Lynnette Marrero & Ivy Mix), Kellie Thorn (Cognac Educator), and Tim McKirdy of VinePair.


  1. Cognac must be the primary ingredient in the cocktail and the only base spirit in the cocktail (vermouth, bitters and other modifiers are allowed).
  2. The cocktail must contain no more than six (6) ingredients: this includes cognac, bitters, no more than two (2) homemade ingredients.
  3. Cocktails must contain standard ingredients. Homemade ingredients must be easily replicable and cannot have more than four (4) components. Examples of homemade ingredients are shrubs, syrups, and infusions.
  4. Garnish is additional; should not be cooked or molecular.
  5. Submissions should be easy to recreate in any bar program and should not include ingredients that would be difficult for any bartender or consumer to access.
  6. The cognac cocktail recipe must have a name. The name may not include any copyrighted or trademarked material or any retailer’s name. The cocktail name must not contain any profanity or derogatory language. You may use cognac in the name.
  7. Recipe must have a maximum serve of 11 oz, minimum serve of 4 oz
  8. Ingredients must be expressed in fluid ounces (.5 oz., 1 oz., 2 oz., etc.), with dashes and drops being the smallest quantities. Preparation and mixing instructions must be included with your recipe. Specify the type of glassware to be used for serving.
  9. Flaming cocktails, any hazardous materials, tobacco, any type of drug or psychotropic ingredient are prohibited as ingredients.

For more information on Cognac, cocktail inspiration or to purchase Cognac visit