Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition : A 5th year that focuses on change
While RDPMAG is a partner for a second consecutive year of the Invasion Cocktail event, we met the co-founder of the event, Maryline Demandre to learn about the changes that will be put in place for Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition, the 5th year of this cocktail festival.
NORMAND BOULANGER : A fifth year, it is the maturity that settles in this event, we notice that you have a brand new character, can you tell us more?
MARYLINE DEMANDRE : This is a drawing by the mixologist Romain Cavelier (Editor’s Note: Romain is a little removed from the world of bars to just devote himself to the art of tattooing, but you can certainly see it in certain events) and already we had several good comments. And the blue reminds the night, the universe of bars.
I imagine it was to bring back to your mission, the starting point of Invasion Cocktail?
In fact, our characters, at first, they all came from a different country (Mexico, England, United States), and we wanted to go elsewhere with this Japanese woman, and in addition a woman. We follow the trend and we really put the accent on the cocktail universe (accessories in the hair) and also tattoos, which are commonplace among bartenders, starting with Romain.
So what is happening again for this 5th year?
We have just launched the programmation on our website and the big news is the headquarters, a two-day pop-up on the set at Livart. It’s really nice as a place, we occupy all the space and there are several small rooms. We will install cocktail kiosks everywhere. There will be food, pancakes, popcorn, entertainment, flair bartending (like Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail), a musical performance as well.
And what will be the dates and opening hours?
In fact it will be Thursday, May 17 and Friday, May 18 from 18h to 22h, and there is a $ 10 entry fee (the first 50 members of RDPMAG will receive a free entry for an evening at Livart) and then these are consumer coupons at an average price of $ 4.
So, what will be the most affordable Invasion Cocktail cocktails? 😉
That’s it, but especially with the free passport, our cocktails in all participating bars are very affordable. It’s interesting to be able to immerse yourself in the Cocktail Invasion Universe. This is the first time it’s possible, no?
Yes, We thought that for our 5th anniversary, what we were missing was a headquarters where people can come and feel the atmosphere of the event. Also, it’s not like the opening night that takes place only on one evening (in Quebec this year), it’s on two nights, so if people can not come on Thursday, they can come on Friday and vice versa.
For people from the bar and restaurant industry, we will also have a day of seminars and in the evening, we will celebrate the 5 years of Invasion Cocktail with the same people who support us from the beginning, because without them, we would not be there and it is important to emphasize it. We are really happy, because that day we will have international speakers, two people from London and one from New York who come only for Invasion Cocktail. For the most part, they never came to Quebec or Canada itself. They will give lectures for the bartenders in terms of creativity to inspire them, but also at the operation level of the bar.
It’s really thanks to your sponsors that you can bring these people to Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition, right?
Exactly, so thanks to Trois Rivières, Lucano and The Spirit of Itlay we were able to bring these people home.
Sponsors are thought to integrate by putting only their alcohol forward, but that’s a lot
more than that no?
Exactly, our partners allow us to set up seminars with educational and exclusive content for bartenders and without them, we could not bring speakers from London or New York for example.
It’s really interesting this power of the sponsor, who can really bring a plus. And that this week is here to learn to drink less, but drink better as well as train responsible and skilled people behind the bars.
Yes, this week is here to highlight the drink better with the bar professionals. We try to do a lot for the community, which is very much for each other (for example, the SpeedRack event to put women forward in the industry) and we try to do our part too. The goal is that Invasion Cocktail is increasingly known internationally to bring more people from outside here. We already see that it starts. There are already people who book, Americans who contact us as they plan their week, people from Ontario. I would like people from France and other European countries to move here. Cocktail festivals all over the world are becoming tourist destinations. So, I think we have our place in Quebec and the culture of cocktail has changed a lot in the last 5 years and I think this is just the beginning.
You went to London Cocktail Week (Drink Up London) and Paris, I think?
Yes, I went to Paris and New Orleans. So actually it moves a lot and this is how we make contacts and also with the reach of social networks. Trois-Rivières is based in Paris and is well known in France and all that. And with the people we bring in, it helps to talk about Invasion Cocktail. Last year we brought one of the greatest international bartenders, that’s for sure.
Several new things for Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition
What’s new on the public side besides headquarters?
So, we have 3 events not to be missed, the first is an event with the invited bartenders on Tuesday night (May 15th) at the Nacarat Fairmont Queen Elizabeth from 8pm to 10pm that will unveil an impressive cocktail list. It’s a free entry so, just present your passport (which is free for download on the Cocktail Invasion website) or download it directly to the bar if you forgot to do so. This is practical, you can not miss his passport, and why we would deprive himself of 20% discount on his cocktail? So, there is this evening, which is a little like our opening night in Montreal, and that will start the week well.
Then on Wednesday (May 16th) evening, there is a visit to the Cirka microdistillery. It is starting to get more and more in the Quebec landscape, but access is often preferred, so we offer you this opportunity for $ 20 only. You will discover the process of development in addition to an encounter with the master distiller. I think it will be a great moment. There are only 20 places available.
And finally, the return of our classic brunch. In previous years, it was at the Sugar Shack at the foot of Pig, but for this fifth year, we tried to innovate by going to Pearl and Paddock. There will be a superb Italian atmosphere with The Spirit of Italy, a group of 8 Italian brands that will offer cocktails with superb vermouth, liqueurs, etc. So, it will be an all inclusive formula with meals, 2 cocktails and a shooter at the end, all for $ 40.
Also, for Montreal and Quebec, we have the return of cocktail workshops at Ateliers & Saveurs, for the public, you can already book. There will be one with Trois Rivières rum, one with the Woodford Reserve bourbon and another with the different brands of The Spirit of Italy.
There is also an Opening night for Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition in Quebec City?
Yes, as there is a great craze in Quebec for Invasion Cocktail, Tuesday, May 15, it’s opening night at Ateliers & Saveurs in Quebec City! And we expect about 200 people.
The RDPMAG Quebec City collaborator Charlie Fernandez was at the Opening Night in Quebec City last year and he really enjoyed it.
Will he come back?
I think it might be interesting if he goes back, but I do not think he will not say no as I know him.
We will organize ourselves to be there.
Is there a closing party this year?
No, not this year. We decided to celebrate our 5th anniversary with the pop-up at the HQ at Le Livart.
So maybe it’ll stretch a bit later than 10pm … (laughs)
It’s really interesting, and for dates, there’s a change in the calendar, is not it?
Yes, to bring a few more people, and the temperature and also for the brunch, it was a little complex with Mother’s Day and everything.
Are there more cocktails than last year on the menu?
No, it’s 250 cocktails, as much as last year. 30 bars are adventure this year. 23 in the Montreal area and 7 in Quebec City. We have new establishments such as Nacarat, the Georges Bar at the Mount Stephen Hotel, the Bootlegger, the Crème Fraîche restaurant. In Quebec, we have Chez Tao restaurant-bar.
And as the cocktails are already on the site, it is easy to already make its course of establishments by district. There will also be a leaflet with the addresses of the different bars.
During the week, sharing his favorite, it will be possible to win prizes of the Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition.
Do you still have Ambassadors this year?
Yes, there are Vincent Thuaud from Chez Tao in Quebec City and Sam Dalcourt in Montreal who is the spokesperson.
If we are talking about cocktails, is there something to be missed?
This is a very good question, we have so many beautiful cocktails created especially for the festival! Hard to choose! I think all our partner institutions have outdone themselves and I invite everyone to discover them!
So a more sober presentation for some, but an equally fantastic taste.
That’s right. The advantage as a co-founder is that sometimes I can taste some of them when I go to see them.
It’s a bit of the least. Other new things to highlight?
Yes, we have the participation of Tourisme Montréal, an organization that helps us bring in international journalists to cover the event. Journalists from London, New York, France, etc. are expected. in order to make Invasion Cocktail.
What can we expect from the next years of Invasion Cocktail?
There may be (oh no I can not say it yet).
My my my. I imagine you would like an expansion in other cities.
Yes, it is certain, on the other hand, it requires a lot of energy. Already with two cities it is not easy. And we must find destinations with a culture of live cocktail, which is perhaps a little more difficult in Quebec outside major centers even if there are excellent cocktail bars in the region.
The desire is not lacking by cons! In fact, we have Dirty D in Brossard, which joined us this year. We might also want to explore the North Shore of Montreal (Editor’s note: The Mile Public House has just opened in Laval).
What does it take to be a good cocktail at Invasion Cocktail?
It takes a bar that has an interest in cocktail culture, good ingredients, well trained staff and not just one person who knows how to make the cocktail. After, we do not ask creations hyper exploded, it can be classic cocktails with a little twist. Like restaurants and wine bars. It is also to do it according to the philosophy of your establishment, in line with what you already do, your DNA, without going elsewhere. We impose nothing, only a large portfolio of several brands they will choose, but there is nothing imposed in terms of constraint. And especially make them related to their customers, it’s important.
We notice this trend of cocktails in restaurants, we were talking about fresh cream just now, are there others?
Yes, there are the Terrible Children, at Tao’s, The Big Luxury, The Beauty and the Beef, The Planque, The Sam, The Assomoir, etc.
Wow! A beautiful selection. Thank you again Maryline for this interview, see you again from May 14 to May 20 at Invasion Cocktail 2018 Edition !
This text was originally published in the RDPMAG Spring 2018 Magazine
*RDPMAG is a media partner of Invasion Cocktail 2018.