The Divas love a good swanky dinner, but anyone who reads our blog knows that we can’t say no to a good stiff drink. We were quite excited to attend the Calvados Event at L’Assommoir restaurant and bar on Notre-Dame in Old Montreal. We have eaten at L’Assommoir a few times, but we hadn’t been in at least a year so we were eager to return. Calvados is an apple brandy from France, the perfect heart-warming drink for a crisp fall September day.
We arrived at the bar and were quickly offered a glass of Calvados, and though we are not brandy aficionados, we appreciated the drink. The competition setup was simple: there were eight mixologists hailing from different Montreal bars and restaurants at L’Assommoir and they were going to present their unique Calvados cocktails with a trip to Normandy as the grand prize. We saw many of the contestants being interviewed as they discussed their cocktail, and we were quickly caught up in the excitement of the evening.
Emilie Bazinet from L’Assommoir, Fred Lafontaine from L’Gros Luxe, Jonathan Pieretti from Le Lab, Matthew King from Le North End, and others, were amongst the eight contestants. The first place prize was a trip to Normandy, the home of the Calvados brand, a rather exciting prize if we do say so ourselves. The evening had a fall-like feel; L’Assommoir was decorated to look like an apple orchard. The servers had the most intricate body paintings that made them seem mystical, as they continually passed around canapés for everyone to enjoy.
We were given eight drink tickets each to try all eight of the contestant’s cocktails, and we were soon milling around and chatting with people. Imagine our surprise when our favourite bartender, Matthew King or King Matthew (depending on which circle he travels in), was one of the contestants representing Le North End. We had been meaning to go to Le North End oyster bar for a while, and now we have the added incentive of finding our favourite bartender there. His cocktail was one of his first creations, made in a punch bowl; it was the perfect fall drink.
His cocktail was a comforting drink that reminded us of apple pie, probably due to the freshly grated cinnamon in the punch bowl. The judges listened to King Matthew’s description of his cocktail, as salmon tartare canapés in little cones were being passed around. The Divas were quite lucky to have gotten a glass of his delightful cocktail before we left for the evening.
Plantain chips with bruschetta were around the bar and we munched away in between Calvados cocktails. The DJ was playing lounge music, and the atmosphere was very relaxed but with a competitive air. These eight contestants were in fact eight finalists from a previous competition. Unfortunately we did not stick around to see all eight contestants create their cocktail, but the ones we did see were exciting.
After each contestant demonstrated how their drink was made, they would go behind the bar and offer it in exchange for a drink ticket. It was a boozy affair, tons of fun, and thrilling to watch. But who won? Jonathan Pieretti from Le Lab wowed the judges with his cocktail, and we are quite happy to have tried it. It was quite the success amongst the taste testers at L’ Assommoir that night.
L’Assommoir is known for its fun events; check out their website for details, especially mixology competitions such as the Calvados event that we attended. But now our curiosity is piqued, and we must plan a trip to go to Le North End. Let’s be honest, what’s better than oysters and cocktails? We certainly have no idea!
Tagged: 211 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Bar, Bartending Competition, Calvados Event, Event, H2Y 1T3, Jonathan Pieretti, King Matthew, L'Assommoir, L'Assommoir Notre-Dame, L’Assommoir Bartending Competition, L’Assommoir Calvados, Le Lab, Le Lab Montreal, Le North End, Le North End Montreal, Matthew King, Mixology, Montreal Mixology, Montreal Restaurant, Notre-Dame, Old Montreal, Old Montreal Restaurant, Old Port, Soirée Calvados, Soirée Calvados L’Assommoir