Sauvelle Vodka challenged bartenders throughout the UK to come up with a cocktail that would feel at home being served on a yacht.
Why did they do this, you might ask? Well, because the final of this particular competition will take place on a yacht; in Ibiza to be precise.
Regional heats are currently taking place, the winner of each will progress to the aforementioned final later this year. The grand winner, in addition to spending some sun-filled days on the White Isle on Sauvelle’s dime, will also get the chance to work as a part time ambassador for the brand, throughout Europe.
The first heat was hosted at Manchester’s El Gato Negro tapas bar. It was BarLifeUK’s first time at this particular venue, and so it came as a surprise when, waiting patiently for the comp to start, the roof suddenly disappeared, exposing the competitors to a beautiful blue and sunny sky. El Gato Negro is apparently a cabriolet bar, and a very nice place to spend an afternoon on a Summer’s day.
As you would expect of a yacht-themed competition, the sea featured prominently in the competitor’s presentations (although we were surprised at the lack of blue drinks). Other bartenders focussed on Wild Beauty roots of Sauvelle’s name, and as such presented some strikingly garnished cocktails.
Sophie Mackay of Bourne & Co. in Birmingham must get an honourable mention for creating a drink that actually tasted like the sea – a Dirty Martini twist that employed pickled cockle brine, and was the very definition of a ‘Marmite’ drink.
The judging criteria placed equal importance on the aesthetics of the serve as it did with the way it tasted, along with marks for skill and an enthusiastic presentation. The judges were unanimous in scoring Kirsty Taylor of Filter + Fox in Liverpool the highest marks in all of these categories for her drink, ‘Bella Baleares’.
This was Kirsty’s first competition, and BarLifeUK don’t remember seeing someone so thrilled to win, and progress to the final in Ibiza.
Second place went to Ed Belshaw of World Service in Nottingham. He won a Magnum of Sauvelle, and a night on the tiles with the Sauvelle team.
Third place was awarded to Will Meredith of the host venue, El Gato Negro, who also bagged a night out, and a bottle of Sauvelle Vodka.
Many thanks to everyone who competed, and made the heat a thoroughly enjoyable one to judge. Now, onwards to Bristol, Glasgow and London…
The winning drinks
Kirsty Taylor – 1st Place
50ml Champagne & almond cordial
15ml Manzana Verde
15ml Lemon Juice
1 Bar spoon Hierbas
Rim glass with vanilla pod & place in glass. Add crushed ice and swizzle. Garnish with two cherries, rosemary and an apple fan.
Ed Belshaw – 2nd Place
None Shall Sleep
50ml Sauvelle Vodka
25ml Roasted vanilla rested La Gitana Manzanilla Sherry
10ml Rosemary-infused Simple Syrup (2:1)
2 dash Fee Bros. Peach Bitters
Add all ingredients to mixing glass and stir down over ice until chilled and diluted sufficiently. Serve straight up in a chilled stem glass and garnish with a vanilla pod.
Will Meredith – 3rd Place
Camino de Santiago
40ml Sauvelle Vodka
15ml Fig Liqueur
20ml Orange juice
20ml Lemon juice
15ml Maple Syrup Shaken with egg white.
Garnished with a dehydrated orange, a Pastis spritz, and a side of a miniature Sauvelle and lemon tonic shot.