+++ UPDATE AUGUST 2010: Adjustment +++

The story of a gigantic punchbowl, an admiral and a landlord with problems… with an open end.

Admiral Edward Russell gave a party in 1694 and the highlight of the event was a punchbowl of mad proportions! Over 5000 guests drank from this huge punch, a fountain to be precise. It was now recreated with cognac in a swimming pool.

Cognac in swimming pool

In 2009, a great party happened in a London 18th century house with 110 rooms and five floors. Courvoisier and Bompas & Parr recreated Admiral Russell’s mega gag.

The biggest Cognac cocktail in the world

So how do you create the biggest cognac cocktail; in a swimming pool?

The recipe consisted of:

  • Four hogsheads of brandy
  • one pipe of Malaga wine
  • twenty gallons of lime-juice
  • twenty-five hundred lemons
  • thirteen hundredweight of fine white sugar
  • five pounds’ weight of grated nutmegs
  • three hundred toasted biscuits
  • eight hogsheads of water

Sounds great and it is really a good idea! And visitors were invited to row across. And what do you think?

360° panorama

Have a look at the 360° panorama tour, here.

Now, here is the problem: The event apparently ‘broke the rules’ because Westminster’s council does not allow the property to be used for commercial purposes – Davenport denies and a court battle is off. But who is responsible? We do not know but we have received an adjustment, see below.

Who is that Edward Davenport, “Lord” Edward even..? He hosted parties for Cher and Boy George, with guests like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and others. Davenport is 44 and founded Gate-crashers, a company that organises parties. The man lives in Monaco and London – and his friends are people like Jean-Claude Van Damme, 50 Cent and poprock singer Pink.

Wait! Here is an adjustment

A reliable source puts it right for us (August 2010). Here is a correction:

“The event was run on behalf of Courvoisier Cognac, collaborating with some very creative members of the industry network “The Courvoisier Future 500 network”.  The CVTF500 members Sam Bompas and Harry Parr – Bompas and Parr – came to us with the concept based on correctly the recorded story of Admiral of the Mediterranean Fleet, Edward Russell who threw a punch party in Alicante, Spain in 1694. A punch was created which filled a marble fountain large enough for servant boys to row across the surface serving guest from the large volume of liquid.  The punch took 6000 people and a week to fully consume.

An so in December last year, we hired central London townhouse 33 Portland Place.  This is where details get confused.

We created the punch along with Bompas and Parr team, not Edward Davenport (self appointed Lord). In fact Mr Davenport was never even there.  He was the landlord from whom we rented the space only.

The event was a PR activity to help launch punch and the mixability of Courvoisier Exclusif Cognac.

The volume was 4000L and was served to guests and public over three days where they had the chance to float on the surface on a giant orange segment while being served from a jetty alongside.

We had dry ice mist which floated across the surface and radio controlled garnish consisting of berries and mint.

The event had to follow very strict health and safety guidelines to prevent cross contamination.

The final recipe was submitted via a consumer competition where we asked people to submit their recipes and how they would present their volume of liquid. Suggestions included volcanoes, rivers and waterfalls of punch.

The final 5 finalist recipes and concepts were tasted by industry experts and the winning recipe went to young entrepreneur Joe McCanta from London Restaurant, Saf. The recipe consisted of a classic berry Shrub (winter spices and berries macerated in sugar and organic apple vinegar), pomegranate juice, cranberry juice and Courvoisier Exclusif cognac.

Rumour about ‘event breaking the rules’ – not true

The event was extremely well received with all major media networks and publications coming down to take part including Discovery Channel Canada whom filmed us making the punch and room/bowl.

The remaining volume of liquid we bottled up and gave away for Christmas (I’ve still a couple of cases).

Regarding the rumour about the ‘event breaking the rules’ – not true.  The Landlord (Mr Davenport) wasn’t allowed to legally hire his space out for events.  He did so under a false pretence to us.  This is still an ongoing battle between him and the council yet has never had any other relevance to Courvoisier of the event.”

Here are some comments of our readers:

  • what a waste if you ask me…i take my yak straight out the bottle…no glass
  • I am pissed because good licqa shouldn’t go to waste!
  • Ain nothin like dat yak
  • aaahhhhhhh……♥
  • Great way to drown.
  • This is like a dream I had coming to life!!! I need someone to sponsor my trip!
  • Im getting thirsty now!!!
  • Shall we go for a swim??
  • YES!
  • Er redd jeg ville gått på grunn.
  • Where,where!!!
  • OMG i’m drowning, nobody better jump in and recue me, it’s mine all mine:)
  • Shucks! Events like these remove the exclusivity of the brand
  • just err,,,,,, dont pee in the pool, ok,

Get articles like these and more:
Subscribe to our mailing list

Here comes trouble: A Swimming Pool filled with Cognac (360° Panorama)

Get a 10% Voucher AND Tasting Cognac eBook when you subscribe to our newsletter. Weekly updates about our stories, new products and deals.


Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    I tasted it – and it was AMAZING! still think about this nicely combined cocktail 😉

Write A Comment