Andrea Benvegna

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Andrea Benvegna

Co-owner of SURF, Imperia (Liguria), Italy

Hospitality runs through Andrea's veins, who's been helping his family in their bar business on the Italian Riviera over the summer seasons since he was a teenager. Moving to London in 2011 to broaden his knowledge and horizons, Andrea joined the iconic Connaught Bar where he sharpened his skills under the mentorship of Ago Perrone for five years. He then went on to join 432 Park Avenue Condominium in NYC, supporting the new opening and the beverage programme and further expanding his knowledge thanks to the work alongside some top chefs such as Shaun Hergatt and ex NOMA Toni Toivanen.

Responding to another London calling, Andrea moved back to the capital to join Walter Pintus in the new venture of The Mandrake, managing the cocktail programme of the 4 bars within the hotel. Over the two years there, The Mandrake's Waeska bar was nominated among the best new cocktail bars at Tales of the Cocktail and Andrea represented the UK in the Havana Grand Prix competition in Cuba. Andrea then decided to take his experience and skills back to his country and look for the perfect location to open his own concept. During this time of research, he also travelled the Latin America to discover new flavours and to spread his love for hospitality through guest bartending and seminars hosted with Vermouth company Cocchi. He finally started a partnership with chef and close friend Ivan Biancardito to launch SURF, a place with a fresh and innovative approach to hospitality and the way food and drinks are imagined. SURF opened its doors in Imperia, on the Italian Riviera near the French border, in August 2021.

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Hometown Hero challenge cocktail: EVO

Glass: Olive wood cup
Garnish: Bright green Patrón string and float olive oil drops
Method: Shaken over ice, served in an.
40 Patrón Silver Tequila
25ml Lime juice
25ml Sugar syrup
15ml Oloroso Sherry
20ml Juice of taggiasca olive juice*
*Taggiasca juice: Blend 1 part of taggiasca olive brine with 1 part of taggiasca olives and strain
Inspiration: EVO cocktail is a tribute to the olive tree and its product which is so iconic to Italy and the Liguria region: extra virgin olive oil. This element is the foundation of Andrea's local cuisine that keeps on providing inspiration and beautiful memories of childhood. The cocktail creation wants to celebrate this core ingredient by enhancing its flavour through its different parts and connecting tradition to innovation in a freshly crafted cocktail. Having lived many years abroad and discovered a huge array of flavours and local traditions has helped Andrea appreciate the heritage and ingredients of his homeland even more. So, for the PATRÓN Perfectionists Hometown Hero challenge, Andrea designed EVO, which stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil - a product that is protected by an appellation of origin in Liguria - but also stands for the evolution that connects this typical ingredient to another faraway country and a global community of bartenders sharing the love of authentic flavours such as tequila.

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