“Like A Butterfly Locked In A Cage Released To The World” How The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam 2024 Was Won

Le Duc Duy Hieu, from Qui Cuisine Mixology,  who was the first runner-up, and Jimmy Ngueyn from Drinking & Healing was the Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam winner.

The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam 2024 national final showcased how a 300-year-old brand keeps its finger on the pulse of modern palates, and how Vietnam’s mixologists are weaving narrative and national identity into their drinks.

Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt

Mathieu Teisseire, the historic French syrup producer, has given the drinks world a stir with its inaugural Flavour Masters competition. 

The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters: Giving The Drinks World A Stir

In the gastronomic landscape of France, where every region boasts its liquid specialties, Grenoble’s Teisseire has been quietly infusing glasses since 1720. It began with Mathieu Teisseire’s ratafia, a cherry liqueur that put the distillery on the map. But it was the pivot to non-alcoholic syrups in the 1920s, under the stewardship of the Reynaud family, that truly set the stage for Teisseire’s ubiquity in French kitchens and cafés.

Teisseire’s flavor palette has expanded well beyond the traditional grenadine and mint. Today, their range reads like a global orchard: from tart blackcurrant to exotic passion fruit. The 2007 launch of sugar-free variants was a nod to changing dietary habits without compromising the intensity that Teisseire syrups bring to a drink.

Yet for all its commercial success, now bolstered by Britvic’s international reach, Teisseire hasn’t strayed far from its roots. The syrups are still produced in the Alps, using water from the same mountains that have backdropped the company for three centuries. It’s a reminder that in food, provenance matters – and that sometimes, the most enduring flavors are those that stay close to home.

The three Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters judges [from left to right]: Ho Hoang Huy, 'Jack' Nguyen Phu Cuong and Tran Quang Minh.
The three Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters judges [from left to right]: Ho Hoang Huy, ‘Jack’ Nguyen Phu Cuong and Tran Quang Minh.

Five Countries, One Global Champion

This global contest, which this year spans five countries – France, Netherlands, Dubai, Greece, and Vietnam – celebrates the craft of drink making beyond mere mixology.

Unfolding in three rounds – local, national, and a grand finale in Teisseire’s homeland – the competition emphasizes education and community. 

Bartenders progress through challenges, gaining insights from flavor experts along the way. The ultimate prize? A 2025 tasting tour through three international destinations.

With nods to trends like zero-proof beverages, Flavour Masters showcases how a 300-year-old brand keeps its finger on the pulse of modern palates. 

More than just crowning a champion, it’s about fostering a global dialogue in the universal language of taste – proving that from Paris to Hanoi, a well-crafted sip knows no borders.

Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam's 12 finalists
The 12 finalists of the Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters national final represented a liquid roadmap of Vietnam.

The Three Judges Casting An Eye Over The Competition

To cast an eye over the finals, Vietnam’s Flavour Masters competition assembled a judging triumvirate that embodies the region’s dynamic drinking scene. 

Tran Quang Minh brought some corporate savvy and international kudos from his tenure at Vise Hospitality Group. ‘Jack’ Nguyen Phu Cuong offers an alchemist’s approach to local ingredients, honed by his accrued Australian bar wisdom. Completing the panel was Ho Hoang Huy, Mathieu Teisseire’s Brand Ambassador, whose 18-year career bridges classic technique and modern flair.

Each judge – decorated in their own right – scrutinized competitors’ creations through a distinct lens: Minh for polish, Jack for innovation, and Huy for brand synergy. Together, they helped crown Vietnam’s Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters champion.

12 Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Finalists Descend On The Dot Bar Drinkery & Kitchen

Underscoring the vibrancy of the cocktail scene here, Mathieu Teisseire’s Flavour Masters 2024 in Vietnam expanded their In-Bar Judging Round pool to 35 contestants. 

Celebrating creativity that spanned from the Mekong Delta to Halong Bay, all 35 returned for the 5 In-bar Judging Round. 

The 12 finalists, at the National Final Round event, hosted by Mathieu Teisseire Vietnam and Dot Drinkery & Kitchen, sought to be the one Vietnamese flag-bearer for the global finals in France – the person whose interpretation of ‘True Flavor’ would prove intoxicating enough to go the distance.

Jimmy Nguyen’s two cocktails blended storytelling with a distinctly Vietnamese approach to flavor.
‘Jimmy’ Nguyen Minh Son’s two cocktails blended storytelling with a distinctly Vietnamese approach to flavor.

A Liquid Roadmap Of Vietnam

From Hanoi’s storied haunts to Ho Chi Minh City’s cutting-edge lounges, and with nods to Hai Phong and Can Tho, the finalist list reads like a liquid roadmap of Vietnam’s diverse drinking landscape.

In the north, Dang Hop Duc of Hai Phong’s Song Coffee & Mixology flew the flag for port city ingenuity, while the capital sent forth four contenders. Among them Doan Manh Hieu of Gallery Bespoke Cocktail Bar and Nguyen Mau Tuan brought with them a different shade of the city’s evolving bar culture.

The Mekong Delta made its mark with Nguyen Chi Trung of Mekong Xuan Phuc in Can Tho with his sole non-alcoholic drinks in the competition, suggesting that ‘True Flavour’ flows through the country’s veins, not just its metropolitan arteries.

It’s Ho Chi Minh City, however, that dominated the dozen, claiming half the slots. Here, the spectrum ran from Le Tuan Huy’s work at Clay Saigon to Pham Hoai Nam representing Yugen Bar’s elegant approach, to Bui Trong Nghia from The Muse Cocktail & Tapas Bar, and Nguyen Nhat Dang from The Long Times Square.

Notable is the presence of Nguyen Thi Thu Hien from Hanoi’s The Old Well and Nguyen Thi Thao Nhung of Aura The Orange, their inclusion a refreshing reminder that in a historically male-dominated industry, talent knows no gender.

But, after the final day’s two grueling rounds it was Le Duc Duy Hieu, from Qui Cuisine Mixology,  who was the first runner-up, and ‘Jimmy’ Nguyen Minh Son from Drinking & Healing was the Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam champion.

“I just feel lucky to be the champion of the competition,” Jimmy beamed, “and to be able to represent Vietnam to compete in France. This is the first trophy in my life. It’s a great competition, and I have so many great memories of it.”

1st runner up, Le Duc Duy Hieu from Qui Cuisine Mixology.
1st runner up, Le Duc Duy Hieu from Qui Cuisine Mixology.

Narrative And National Identity

‘Jimmy’ Nguyen Minh Son’s two cocktails blended storytelling with a distinctly Vietnamese approach to flavor.

His first drink, ‘Cherry Katchup,’ tackled the ‘newstalgia’ theme by reimagining a kitchen staple. Using Sampan Rhum as a base, Jimmy incorporated Teisseire’s cherry syrup to echo ketchup’s sweetness, while balsamic vinegar provided depth reminiscent of tomato’s savory notes. Fresh tomato and pineapple juices rounded out the profile, resulting in a drink that cleverly straddled past and present.

Nguyen’s second creation, ‘The Butterfly on Yuzu Flower,’ served as a liquid autobiography. Symbolizing his transition from chef to bartender, the cocktail featured Baigur gin, Teisseire’s yuzu citron syrup, and yuzu juice for added brightness. He grounded the drink in Vietnamese terroir by using Hoa Loc mango and soursop lemonade, prized local ingredients that added tropical complexity. Finally, a measure of Suze contributed balancing bitterness.

The name, Jimmy explained, reflected “the feeling of a butterfly locked in a cage and released into the world” – an apt metaphor for personal growth and, perhaps, the expanding horizons of Vietnam’s bar scene.

Both cocktails showcased Nguyen’s ability to weave narrative and national identity into the glass, traits that are fast becoming hallmarks of the country’s most innovative bartenders.

Recognition time at The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam 2024.
Recognition time at The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam 2024.

A Glimpse Behind The Mathieu Teisseire Flavour Masters Vietnam 2024 Scorecards

In attendance were three international guests. Gemma, Mathieu Teisseire’s Head of Sales Asia, Juno, Mathieu Teisseire’s Brand Ambassador for Asia, and Julie, Mathieu Teisseire’s Global Marketing, who was impressed by the level of skill and passion the contestants exuded. “I’m amazed, besides drinks they also bared their souls,” she smiled.

But it was the opinions of the three judges that mattered most.

The international guests, Gemma, Mathieu Teisseire’s Head of Sales, Julie, Mathieu Teisseire’s Global Marketing and Juno, Mathieu Teisseire’s Brand Ambassador for Asia.

In the aftermath of Vietnam’s Flavour Masters, they offered a glimpse behind the scorecard, revealing what made a cocktail linger in memory and what advice they’d offer for future contenders.

“Some of the competitors used ingredients like pandan leaves or coconut, so they need to deeply understand their ingredients to achieve a balance between sweet and sour,” Tran Quang Minh reflected.

Still, Huy Ho, Mathieu Teisseire’s Brand Ambassador, was captivated by an entry from Nam Yugen that riffed on Vietnam’s beloved breakfast duet: cà phê and bánh mì. The addition of Teisseire’s banana syrup created a libation both “familiar and a bit strange,” as Huy put it. It’s this layering of the expected with the surprising that, for him, defines a standout sip.

Meanwhile, Jack Nguyen of Jack In Bartender found himself haunted by the one that got away. Hoai Nam’s hot cocktail, inspired by ‘The Little Match Girl’ and laced with Teisseire’s cherry syrup, was poised for high marks. 

Its classic bones and poignant storytelling through both flavor and presentation had Jack and his fellow judges spellbound – until a crucial omission of the competition’s required syrup cost Nam dearly. “This is what reminds me of this cocktail the most,” Jack reflects, underlining how near-perfection can be the most instructive.

All the judges stressed preparation as key – Huy advising contestants to ready their arsenal and rehearse, while Jack advocates for an unquenchable thirst to learn and improve. “Stopping or not winning,” he says, “is not the end of everything, but a stepping stone.”

Jimmy Nguyen from Drinking & Healing
Jimmy’ Nguyen Minh Son having “the feeling of a butterfly locked in a cage and released into the world.”

Their parting wisdom? Remember that a great cocktail is more than just taste; it’s theater, narrative, and emotion in a glass. And sometimes, the most memorable performances come with a twist of what might have been.

Photos for The Dot Magazine by Nghia Ngo


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