Words by Difford's Guide
Photography by Reyka Vodka
Reyka Vodka invites UK bartenders to shine a spotlight on not only their vodka but also the humble tomato, and compete for one of five once-in-a-lifetime VIP trips to Iceland.
Brand Ambassador Fabiano Latham, pictured above, will be cycling the length of the UK in his quest to discover the best Reyka Vodka cocktails.
He will be hosting heats in 10 cities (Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester) where bartenders will present their unique Reyka Vodka cocktail, inspired by the home of the brand, Iceland, and particularly the geothermal energy and glacial springwater that is used both in the distillation process of Reyka and the growth of Icelandic tomatoes - an ingredient that Reyka is asking all competitors to hero throughout their drinks.
Five once-in-a-lifetime trips to the Icelandic homeland of the brand for the winners of each regional heat (Scotland: North: Midlands: South: London)
How to enter
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to enter with the following details:
- Full name
- Bar that the entrant is representing
- Cocktail's name
- Cocktail ingredients
- A photo of the drink (smartphone/ camera photos accepted)
1st to 31st July: Entries can be submitted until 31st July but don't delay.
5th August - Entries will be shortlisted by 5th August and if successful entrants will be invited to the local regional heat.
12th to 27th August - Heats begin in Aberdeen on the 12th August and finish in London on the 27th August. Full schedule below...
Aberdeen 12th August at Orchid
Dundee 13th August at Draffens
Edinburgh 14th August at Bryant & Mack
Glasgow 15th August at The Finnieston
Leeds 20th August at Manahatta
Manchester 21st August at The Artisan
Birmingham 22nd August at the Edgbaston
Cardiff 23rd August at Ten Mill Land
Bristol 24th August at The Milk Thistle
London 27th August at TT Liquor
Things to remember
- A minimum of 35ml Reyka Vodka must be used in your recipe.
- A maximum of 6 ingredients can be used, including bitters.
- You must showcase elements of Icelandic culture/landscape.
- Winners will be announced live throughout the journey via the Facebook page.
- Your bar must stock Reyka Vodka.
- You must use tomatoes in your recipe, but no Bloody Marys, please!
The kind folks at Reyka have some insider knowledge to pass on, to help get those creative juices flowing.
Did you know for instance...
"Reyka is not just Made in Iceland but Made Of Iceland. Our water comes from an arctic spring that runs through a 4,000-year-old lava field - it's some of the purest in the world.
Distilled in Borgarnes (say Bor-gan-ess), Iceland, a coastal village surrounded by rich natural resources, our master distiller is Þórður Sigurðsson, who is also the local fireman and policeman.
Our distillery is powered by geothermal energy from underground volcanoes.
We distill Reyka in one of the few Carter-Head stills in the world.
Iceland is full of lava rocks and we use them to filter our vodka, giving it a crisp, clean taste.
Reyka is made in small batches and each distillation takes about 6 hours and makes only 255 cases."
What kind of drinks might the judges be looking for? Perhaps this signature Reyka serve might be a good example. The Puffin Collins is inspired by "the pinky hues the greenhouses emit during cloudy, dark nights."
Serve in a Highball glass
50ml Reyka Vodka
1 cherry tomato
20ml elderflower cordial
30ml grapefruit juice
50ml soda water
How to make: Muddle, shake, strain and top with soda water.
Garnish: Half cherry tomato.
Looks like the adventure has started. Reyka invite you to get on board!
The regional heat winners
After the competitors presented their Reyka Vodka cocktail across regional heats, the five winners were announced, in no particular order:
Scotland: Cal McMillan of Tabac Bar, Glasgow
North: Elysa McGuire of Epicurious Bar, Leeds
Midlands: Rueben Clark of The Wilderness Bar, Birmingham
South West: Harry Cosmo Boardman of HMSS, Bristol
London: Josh Powell of Ladies and Gents Bar, Kentish Town, London