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 trip to Cognac, France in 2022 - timing of trip, TBD!

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 - Friday, September 10, 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 30, 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 trip to Cognac, France in 2022 - timing of trip, TBD.

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

1. SPONSOR: BNIC/Cognac USA c/o Teuwen Communications; 231 West 29th Street, #1006, New York, NY 10001. In the following text, “Sponsor” or “Sponsors” refers to the BNIC/Cognac USA, their media partners, SpeedRack, VinePair and any nominated country partners, distributors or importers. 2. ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open only to individuals who (a) are at least twenty-one (21) years old and who are professional bartenders who are currently or have been legally employed bar professionals in the past 18 months in the USA. In the event that the Contest is challenged by any legal or regulatory authority, Sponsor reserves the right to discontinue or modify the Contest or to disqualify participants residing in the affected geographic areas. In such event, Sponsor shall have no liability to any entrants who are disqualified due to such an action. 3. AGREEMENT TO TERMS AND CONDITIONS: By participating in this Contest, you indicate your unconditional agreement to the Official Rules, these Terms and Conditions, the Program Requirements, and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding. You cannot win a prize unless you comply with all requirements set forth herein. Sponsor reserves the right to change these Terms and Conditions or the Program Requirements at any time, without prior notice. Any changes will be posted on Moreover, by participating, you represent that you are complying with any policies your employer may have regarding participation in contests of this nature. 4. RIGHTS TO ENTRIES: By entering, you: (a) irrevocably grant Sponsor, BNIC/Cognac USA, as well as Speed Rack and VinePair, and each of their agents, licensees, and assigns (collectively, the “Rights Holders”) the unconditional and perpetual (non-exclusive) right and permission to copyright, reproduce, encode, store, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, publicly perform, adapt, modify, create derivative works of, exhibit, and otherwise use your Entry as-is or as-edited (crediting your name) in any media throughout the world for any purpose, without limitation, and without additional review, compensation, or approval from you or any other party; (b) forever waive any rights of copyrights, trademark rights, privacy rights, and any other legal or moral rights that may preclude the Rights Holders’ use of your Entry, or require any further permission for the Rights Holders to use the Entry; and (c) agree not to instigate, support, maintain, or authorize any action, claim, or lawsuit against the Cognac Connection Challenge Rules Rights Holders on the grounds that any use of the Entry, or any derivative works, infringes any of your rights as creator of the Entry, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights, and moral rights. 5. PUBLICITY: Except where prohibited, by participating in the Contest, you agree that the Rights Holders and any media that are exposed to your cocktail entry and/or attending events related to the Contest may use your name, likeness, voice, opinions, photographs, audio-visual footage, recipe, biographical information, state of residence, and/or any other record of your participation in the contest for promotional purposes in any press releases, advertisements, television, radio, film, documentary, internet, or in any other publication or media without acknowledgement, further payment or consideration. 6. GENERAL CONDITIONS: In the event that the operation, security, or administration of the contest is impaired in any way, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, either: (a) suspend the Contest to address the impairment and then resume the Contest; or (b) award the prizes according to the criteria set forth above from among the eligible entries received up to the time of the impairment. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify and seek damages from any individual who tampers with the operation of the Contest, violates these Terms and Conditions, or acts in a disruptive or unsportsmanlike manner. Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Terms and Conditions shall not constitute a waiver of that provision. Proof of sending any communication to Sponsor by mail shall not be deemed proof of receipt of that communication by Sponsor. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited. 7. RELEASE AND LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY: By participating in the Contest, you agree to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, and each of their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, contractors, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents (the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in the Contest or receipt or use of any prize, including, but not limited to: (a) unauthorized human intervention in the Contest; (b) technical errors; (c) printing errors; (d) lost, late, postage-due, misdirected, or undeliverable mail; (e) errors in the administration of the Contest or the processing of Entries; or (f) injury or damage to persons or property. You further agree to indemnify, release, and hold the Released Parties harmless from any claims that their use of your Entry (as contemplated in these Rules) violates or infringes upon the rights of any third party. You waive the right to claim any damages whatsoever, including, but not limited to, punitive, consequential, direct, or indirect damages. 8. DISPUTES: Except where prohibited, you agree that any and all disputes, claims and causes of action arising out of, or connected with, the Contest or any prize awarded shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the appropriate court. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Terms and Conditions, your rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the governing state, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules (under any jurisdiction in any US State), which would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction.