Invasion Cocktail Invades With A Festival To Celebrate Montreal & Quebec City

 In Features

Cocktail culture has swept the globe in the last decade and innovation is happening in cities in all corners of the world. Quebec has always been a city with rich culinary ties, so it comes to no surprise that the bar industry would find a thriving home in the city and its own cocktail festival.  After gaining great momentum, the festival is entering its fifth year and Invasion Cocktail is back for 2018 to showcase the region’s booming cocktail culture. The festival will take place from May 14 – 20 across Quebec City and Montreal, with a Pop-Up HQ Invasion Cocktail in Montreal from May 16 – 18.

To buy tickets or for more information on Invasion Cocktail, click HERE. And keep reading for more about the festival with Co-Founder, Maryline Demandre.

Maryline Demandre (Co-Founder of Invasion Cocktail) Photo via La Presse

Talking to Invasion Cocktail’s Co-Founder, Maryline Demandre.

What was your inspiration for Invasion Cocktail?

The idea was born after meeting Pierre-Olivier Trempe, our Co-Founder, who is behind the Made With Love cocktail competition in Canada. At the time (6 years ago), the cocktail culture in Quebec was starting to bloom, bartenders were just beginning to be recognized and more cocktail bars were starting to open.  At the time, I was working in the food & wine industry and we had a shared passion about both cocktails and events.  We realized that unlike other major cities in the world (London, New Orleans, Paris…), Montreal did not have its own cocktail week.  From there the idea of launching it was created, Invasion Cocktail was born a few months later.  Initially, we started in Montreal only and today we have expanded to Montreal and Quebec City.

Tell us about Montreal / Quebec City’s Bar Culture?

The bar culture in Quebec has been booming for the past few years. Plenty of new cocktail bars are opening, cocktail events/competitions are appearing all over Canada, and many local bartenders are now participating in international competitions and earning their places as the finalists.

We have seen major developments in recent years.  Our bartenders are curious to develop new techniques, to push the creation at its best and to position themselves as craftsmen.  They feed on what is happening on the international scene while maintaining their own local style; a Quebec signature.

Why should people attend Invasion Cocktail?

For the industry, Invasion Cocktail is a great way to meet international bartenders and learn about technics, marketing, ingredients, trends, bar management.  It is also an important networking venue for the industry.

For the consumers, it is a perfect way to discover the cocktail scene in MTL and QC City without breaking the bank. You have several events to choose from depending on what you are looking for. You can do a bar tour and discover your local bars to get a taste of exclusive cocktails at affordable price. Also, you can participate in other events, join us to the HQ Invasion Cocktail if you are looking for a fun night, register for workshops to learn the basics, visit a local distillery and learn more about spirits, and much more!

How are you ensuring inclusion and diversity at Invasion Cocktail?

The Invasion Cocktail team is mostly composed of women and the equity between men and women is very important to us.

We are lucky and proud to have a very strong female bartender community and our women are some of the finest bartenders in the industry. For example, Sabrina Mailhot who is one of the first females to reach the TOP 16 in an international competition. We also have Kate Boushel and Emilie Loiselle who are in the finals of the World Class competition in Montreal. Invasion Cocktail frequently collaborates with them and supports them in all the competitions in which they participate.

All races and genders are present in the Quebec scene and Invasion Cocktail promotes diversity. We are all very concerned about those issues and we are always making sure to include the largest diversity of people. Montreal is a multicultural city where minorities live together. The Quebec cocktail community is a small community where everyone stands together and where all races, genders are accepted or even encouraged.

What are some highlights to look out for in 2018?

We have a very diverse program, for both professionals and the general public!

It starts with the cocktail week in our 30 partnering establishments, by downloading our free passport online, you can access to an exclusive menu created specifically for the week by the bartenders and get a discount on the cocktail prices (about 20%).

We also have a Guest Bartending night at the very chic Nacarat (Fairmont hotel) with the participation of our guest bartenders: Luca Cinalli, Oriole, Remy Savage, The Artesian and Taylor Corrigan, Woodford Reserve Ambassador

A Pro Day where we are welcoming bartending from abroad: Luca Cinalli from Oriole in London, Remy Savage from The Artesian in London and Damiano Coren from Macao Trading Co. in New York city. We will offer a full day of seminars, followed by an industry night where the industry will be able to taste cocktails and spirits from our partner brands.

For the consumers, we also have two nights event at our HQ Invasion Cocktails, with tasting stations, DJ, food, flair bartending, live performance.

And we are finishing the week with a festive brunch for both industry and consumers. We have a lot more activities during the week!

INVASION COCKTAIL HIGHLIGHTS

A 5th anniversary with a lot of new features
*A pop up (HQ Invasion Cocktail) from May 16th to the 18th at a central location in Montreal, allowing
professionals and consumers to stop by anytime and taste a selection of the finest cocktails.
* A new festive brunch at the well-known Perles & Paddock in Montreal, presented by The Spirit of Italy
* A local distillery visit at Cirka including tastings
* An opening night for professionals only
In addition, the free passport will be back and will allow holders to enjoy the 250 exclusive cocktails in our
30 partner establishments at reduced price. Our program will also include a grand opening night in Quebec
City, in collaboration with our partner brands, several workshops for consumers, a guest bartending event
at the trendiest bar in Montreal and a full day of seminars for professionals featuring world-renowned
speakers.

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