The Sauvelle Vodka comp challenged bartenders to create a cocktail that would feel at home being served on a yacht. A yacht in Ibiza, to be precise, as that is to be the venue for the grand final.
Heats throughout the UK have thrown up some great drinks, and finalists. This time, it was London’s turn to shine.
As you might expect, the turnout for the London heat was great, with seventeen bartenders slated to compete. A quick look around the room revealed the usual scene of competitors laying out their ingredients and kit on tables, and given it would be a long day, the judges were heartened to see quite a few food-based garnishes being readied.
Also as you might expect of a London heat, the Hotel Bartender Mafia were out in force. BarLifeUK are always impressed and sometimes amazed by the intricacy of some of the hotel lads and lasses’ serves, although in this instance, and few of the competitors over-complicated things, meaning they struggled to deliver their presentations within the time allowed.
On a similar note, a couple of the bartenders presented more than one version of their drink, in an effort to display its versatility, but were then confused when the judges asked which one they would like to be judged. While it is admirable to put so much work into your presentation that you effectively deliver two drinks, the competition rules ask for one, so be prepared to pick one, especially if the two versions have different methods of creation.
The overall standard was very high, with some of the strongest visions of a ‘yacht serve’ that we have seen in any of the heats. In fact, given that the London heat had twice the number of entrants as the other regions, Sauvelle decided to put two winners through to the final, instead of the customary one.
This made the judging slightly easier, as the panel had the top two bartenders marked so close, it would have been very difficult to separate them.
So, we would like to offer our congratulations to Dean Shury of Chiltern Firehouse, and Riccardo Russo of Quaglinos, who both go through to the grand final in Ibiza; and to Michele Reina of Looking Glass Cocktail Club, who came home in third place, and bagged a magnum of Sauvelle, and a night on the tiles with the Sauvelle team.
The winning drinks
Dean Shury – La Riviera
- 50ml Sauvelle Vodka
- 25ml Lime juice
- 15ml Spiced pineapple cordial
- 10ml Koko Kanu
- 15ml Pineapple juice
Shaken, fine strain, Coupette glass, garnish with pineapple flower and star anise
Riccardo Russo – Capri-cious
- 50ml Sauvelle Vodka
- 35ml Cantalupe melon puree
- 25ml Aperol
- 15ml Lime juice
- Dash of sugar syrup
Pinch of salt and white pepper.
Michele Reina – Breathtaker
- 45ml Sauvelle vodka
- 15ml Kummel Coumbier
- 5ml La Vida mezcal
- 20ml Lemon juice
Shake and double strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with fresh rosemary and green olive.