Words by: Difford's Guide
Photography by: Beluga
Beluga Vodka launched its on-trade educational program in June 2016, encompassing a roadshow and cocktail competition across nine major cities in UK, France and Germany. Obviously aimed at building understanding of the Beluga Brand, the initiative also strived to push the boundaries of high-end mixology.
This international multi-stage bartenders' initiative which includes an educational program, creative competition and promotional period, invited UK bartenders to create a 1920s-1930s Great Gatsby style Art Deco-inspired cocktail with a modern Beluga twist. Entrants presented their creations in front of a panel of judges in London, Manchester and Birmingham. The competition then saw those shortlisted go through to the "Promotional Stage", with participants judged on how they promoted their cocktails in their own bars.
On Monday 24th October the winners were announced as being Andrea Benvegna (The Connaught, London), Agostino Schiavo (Bulgari Hotel, London) and Lewis Parry (The Curios Cat, Grimsby).
The three have won an 'all-expenses paid' trip to Moscow were they will guest bartend at some of Moscow's top venues and present their winning cocktails. They will then compete for the name 'Beluga Signature Bartender' in the Grand Final alongside the six other 1st place winners from competitions running in parallel in France and Germany. The overall winner will receive a monetary price and a Beluga trophy.
By Andrea Benvegna, The Connaught, London
• 40ml Beluga Noble vodka
• 15ml Dark crème de cacao
• 15ml Bergamot sherbet
• 1 drop Absinthe
• Shaken and filtered over charcoal
• 30ml Champagne
• Vetiver essence sprayed on top
Judges comment: "Andrea created a visually stunning serve with all the elegance and hedonistic qualities you would expect from a Gatsby inspired competition. Andrea promoted his Beluga Signature serve at the world's best bar, The Connaught and utilised social media to show his stunning drink in various locations around the world including Manhattan in New York."
All My Life For Daisy
By Agostino Schiavo, Bulgari Hotel, London
• 50ml Beluga Noble vodka
• 5ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 15ml Dry vermouth & rose reduction
• 12.5ml Vanilla syrup
• 2 drops Rose water
• 5 Raspberries
Top with Champagne blanc de blanc
Judges comment: "Agostino created a delicate yet decadent serve that had all the feel of the Hamptons in the summer time, with fresh raspberries, rose reduction and of course champagne. Agostino served his signature serve to over 220 people during the second phase at the world renowned Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge."
By Lewis Parry, The Curios Cat, Grimsby
• 50ml Beluga Allure vodka
• 10ml Lillet Blanc
• 5ml Canadian Maple syrup
• 3 pieces Dehydrated fig
• 2ml Saline solution
• Pernod Absinthe spray
Judges comment: "Lewis captured the tradition and 'old money' feel of the Gatsby novel while updating the drink with big bold flavours which balanced beautifully. Lewis lived the competition throwing dedicated Beluga Gatsby style events all supported by social media."