The La Maison Cointreau Cocktail Competition, organized by French spirits group Rémy Cointreau, seeks to gather the best the industry has to offer and showcase the brand’s iconic orange liqueur through exciting themes.

Now on its 4th year, the competition tasked nine local bartenders from some of the top bars in town to come up with two cocktails for two challenges: (1) Past, Present, and Future, where they had to reinterpret The Original Margarita (Cointreau, tequila, and lime); and (2) #TimeWellSpent challnger which takes inspiration from Mount Gay Rum’s (the rum brand under the Rémy Cointreau portfolio) time spent at sea. The bartenders and their supporters gathered at The Coconut Club at BGC last September 11 for the competition.

Watch the live coverage of the competition here: part 1 / part 2 / part 3


The contenders gave it their best shot to impress the judges—La Maison Cointreau 2017 PH champion Joey Cerdinia, Rémy Cointreau’s National Portfolio Ambassador Scott Fitzgerald, and’s editor-in-chief Tatum Ancheta—who were out to choose the the bartender who was able to not only come up with inventive cocktails that tastes good and ties up with the theme, but also possessed charm and personality.

The competition saw some inventive use of ingredients, as the bartenders came up with homemade syrups, infusions, and edible garnishes which tied flavors and the themes together, with varying levels of success.

Duane Legaspi from BCN by Rambla served The Present from the Past (cherry-infused Cointreau, fresh beetroot juice, lime juice, tequila silver, egg white, garnished with salted cherry rim and candied orange peel), and Skilled Sailor (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, black currant infused in homemade seafood stock, seaweed syrup, sherry wine, garnished with edible sand and edible oyster shell with edible pearl).

Duane Legaspi
The Present from the Past and Skilled Sailor

Faye Fernando from Cove Manila made Tres Marias (tequila reposado, homemade tomato liqueur, lime juice, peppercorn syrup, Cointreau, served in a glass rimmed with powdered eggyolk), inspired by Margarita, Bloody Mary, and White Lady. Her second drink is named Excursion (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, lemon juice, simple syrup, wakame brine, aquafaba with hondashi, topped with noritama).

Faye Fernando
Tres Marias and Excursion

Arnel Sulangsawa from Tomatito presented Dekada ’70 (cinnamon-infused tequila, Cointreau, fresh grapefruit juice, blood orange falernum, lemon and lime oil, Cointreau and beer foam, served with salted ice stirrer with lime peel), and Poseidon (Mount Gay XO, falernum, banana liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, garnished with nori bits and ice block with sea shell, plus dry ice with salt water and Mount Gay for aroma).

Arnel Sulangsawa
Dekada ’70 and Poseidon

John Silva from La Coctelera by Rambla’s cocktails were Without Borders (gin, tequila blanco, Cointreau, fresh grapefruit juice, vermouth blanco, kalamata olive bitters, garnished with Arbequina olive oil bitters and black olive salt) and Oasis (Mount Gay XO, Cointreau, strawberry shrub, lime juice, tonka bean syrup, baharat bitters, served in an infusion bowl and garnished with shrimp cocktail and sangria gelatin) which was inspired by the five years he spent in the Middle East.

John Silva
Without Borders and Oasis

Jeremiah Mateo from Yes Please presented Drunken Daisy (mezcal, pineapple shrub, lime juice, Cointreau, garnished with Cointreau, lime sorbet, saline solution, and soy lecithin) and Polly Wants Mango (ripe mango puree, Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, nori-infused Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cointreau, Orgeat, and lime juice).

Jeremiah Mateo
Drunken Daisy and Polly Wants Mango

Paul Perez from Long Bar Raffles came up with a vegetarian Margarita called Le Vegerita (Cointreau, tequila reposado, mexican lime, sauteed lemongrass, cucumber and celery in Cointreau, garnished with Margarita jelly, Cointreau jelly, with cucumber and celery), and Manhattan-inspired Norish at Sea (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Cointreau, nori muscovado syrup, vanilla bitters, topped with calamansi Cointreau foam, and garnished with dehydrated nori).

Paul Perez
Le Vegerita and Norish at Sea

J.I. Agunat from RM16 served a margarita tswist inspired by his grandmother, called Abuela (Cointreau, mezcal, passionfruit syrup, lemon juice, angostura bitters, salt, black peppercorns, and white truffle oil, garnished with dehydrated lemon and orange peel) and Manong Kuya Mangga (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, green mango puree, simple syrup, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, fermented shrimp paste, garnished with green mango slice).

J.I. Agunat
Abuela and Manong Kuya Mangga

Loreen Hernandez from Versus Barcade presented Margarita Flores (tequila reposado, lime juice, Cointreau, homemade orange marmalade syrup, orange blossom water, lavander bitters, mediterranean salt solution) and Going Merry (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, lemon juice, roasted hazelnut syrup, homemade spiced stout reduction syrup, mediterranean salt solution, angostura bitters, egg white with seafood flavored nori on top).

Loreen Hernandez
Margarita Flores and Going Merry

Auie Benisano from Gallery by Chele served Margarita Will inspired by his father (roasted black rice infused tequila, lime juice, lychee liqueur, Cointreau, homemade kaffir syrup, served in a glass with smoky sea salt rim), and Ikeda Meets Gay (Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, kombu syrup, charcoal grilled lemon juice, nori tincture, creole bitters, egg white, grated black lemon zest).

Auie Benisano
Margarita Will and Ikeda Meets Gay

J.I. Agunat of RM16 bagged 3rd place, while Auie Benisano from Gallery by Chele was chosen as 2nd runner-up. Versus Barcade’s Loreen Hernandez was named La Maison Cointreau’s Philippine champion 2018 and will be representing the country on La Maison Cointreau Asia finals on 22nd to 25th October 2018 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There, she’ll get to pit her skills and creativity against top bartenders from all over Asia for a shot at the title of champion.

Photos courtesy of Sherwin Nagano

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