Emperor’s Challenge

Mandarine Napoléon Hosts Mix-Off

Viviane De Kuyper & Marc De Kupyer

Thirty of South Florida’s most renowned bartenders gathered at the Mondrian’s Sunset Lounge for the first ever “Emperor’s Challenge” hosted by Mandarine Napoléon – the recently re-launched liqueur made of mandarins and 10-year-old aged cognac. Attendees enjoyed complimentary Mandarine Napoléon cocktails as they watched the bartenders take on a number of unexpected challenges

Among those who participated were:

  • Chris Hudnell – Soho Beach Club
  • Angelo Vierra – Mondrian
  • Tommy Merolla – W South Beach
  • Marina Aleksashkina – Casa Tua
  • Cricket Nelson – The Stage
  • Nick Nistico – AMG restaurant group Delray
Marc De Kupyer with "Emperor's Challenge" winning team

The winning team, Gaston Cabrera (Baru Urbano, Brickell) , Marco Balza (Baru Urbano, Brickell) and Nick Nistico (Buddha Sky Bar/AMG Restaurants), each went home with the famed Jim Meehan bartending kit and a bottle of the very limited Mandarine Napoléon XO, of which only 900 were produced worldwide.

With a distinct flavor that dates back to the hands of Napoléon Bonaparte, Mandarine Napoléon, the first liqueur to combine the savory taste of mandarins and 10-year-old aged cognac, is relaunching in the United States this summer. The spirit is currently distributed in well over 100 countries globally and is prepared to captivate the American consumer with its alluring taste and rich history

Leading the effort to bring Mandarine Napoléon to The States is Marc de Kuyper of De Kuyper Royal Distillers. Founded in 1695, the family’s distillery is one of the oldest family distilleries in the world. With factories and sales offices in The Netherlands, Belgium and the United States, and partnerships in more than 100 countries, the De Kuyper family sells more than 70 million bottles annually.

Marc De Kupyer with "Emperor's Challenge" winning team

Crafted solely of natural ingredients, the mandarin/cognac concoction charms the senses using two separate macerations, one with freshly chopped mandarins and the other with dried mandarin orange skins. Prior to distillation, each of the orange batches is combined with over 20 additional botanicals, of which constituents remain a humble secret. Using mandarins instead of oranges allows for a smooth taste, as opposed to the sour finish of other citrus-based liqueurs.

The winning cocktail was called Tiny Daiquiri:

2 oz Mandarine Napoléon
2 oz White grape sour

  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 2 parts white grape juice
  • 1 bar spoon of simple syrup

1 oz Ruttle Old Simon Genever (brand specific)
1 Dash of Pineappe Bitters
1 Small Egg White

Build over ice in a pint glass then shake vigorously… Strain in a coupe glass…
Spank a fresh Basil sprig and slide around the rim of the glass… Then spoke the sprig into a white grape on the rim of the glass for a garnish

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