The Vero Bartender

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Benedetta Paris from Happiness Forgets and her cocktail ( Elena & the City ) is the winner of The Vero Bartender UK 2024!

The Vero Bartender competition has returned with the concept of 'A Timeless Spirit' which highlights the versatility of Amaro Montenegro as well as its heritage, by selecting an era in the past or future with bartenders challenged to create a cocktail with Amaro Montenegro inspired by those times.

The theme for the current edition is The 90s Calling, a discovery journey into a colourful decade that gifted the world with many trends and inspiration.

On 27 February 2024, at Stereo in London's Covent Garden, the UK finalists presented their cocktail creations to a panel of judges, including Chelsie Bailey - ex-Head Bartender of the American Bar; Mia Kumari – previous UK winner; Edvinas Eddie Rudzinskas – from Cocktails for You; and Rudi Carraro, Amaro Montenegro's Global Brand Ambassador. After some fantastic and creative presentations and cocktails, the judges selected Benedetta Paris, Happiness Forgets, as the worthy winner.

The winning cocktail - Elena & The City - from Benedetta Paris, Happiness Forgets

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30ml Amaro Montenegro
25ml Raspberry, Celery & Green Apple Cordial
30ml Vodka
2.5ml Fresh Lemon Juice

Benedetta says of her cocktail:
"Elena of Montenegro is an iconic woman from Italy. She left her country, but she kept her personality and she showed her soul to all of Italy! She dedicated her time as a nurse during the world war and sold her crown to pay off Italian debts. She is a strong and independent woman!

I'm '90s?! What's more iconic than Sex & the City to represent women's emancipation, independence, and friendship (like Montenegro teaches us) Elena in the City, is Elena of Montenegro, Sex & the City, and my experience! A story of women who have found themselves and are not afraid to express themselves! My cordial and my cocktail are the experiences that myself, Elena, and the women in Sex & the City have had. Sometimes new, fresh, and strong like the smell of celery, sometimes full, hard, and a little bit acidic and juicy, like green apples, and sometimes intense and sweet like raspberries!

My cocktail shows the wonderful power of simplicity! It is crispy, botanical, bracing, and bold!!!"

Congratulations to Benedetta, who now travels to Italy for the global Vero Bartender final, and well done and thank you to all competitors and UK finalists!

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Other UK finalists

Alice Ford from Eve Bar, London

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Alessandro Vella from The Donovan Bar, London

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Anthony Orme from The Royal Cocktail Exchange, London

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Asia Di Martile from Hyde&Co, Bristol

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Carrie Smith Hoot the Redeemer, Edinburgh

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Harvey-Hugo Austin-Francis from City of London Distillery and Bar, London

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Liam Jones from Pennyroyal, Cardiff

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Simone Crepaldi from Callooh Callay, London

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The winner of the national final, Benedetta Paris, is awarded with an Amaro Montenegro residency trip to Italy in April during the week of the Global Final to take part in brand experiences and seminars in the beautiful city of Bologna, home of the brand. She will also have the opportunity to meet and spend time with influential bartenders and industry leaders.

This year, the judging panel will include Giacomo Giannotti from Paradiso in Barcelona and Erica Firpo, renowned industry journalist for the Financial Times, Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, The Guardian and more.

"For me, The Vero Bartender is a competition that finds the people that want to go beyond themselves. Amaro Montenegro has built this competition to give a spotlight to hospitality professionals who not only understand that it is our job to share our space, stories, and creations but it is a pleasure to do so. I am so glad that I was a part of the Vero Bartender competition. Not only did I make new friends from around the globe, but we were all of the same mindset of what's really important in hospitality and what made us fall in love with our jobs- it's sharing what we have with our guests."

2022 winner Mia Kumari

For more about Amaro Montenegro and The Vero Bartender see amaromontenegro.com and follow #AmaroMontenegro and #TheVeroBartender on Instagram @amaromontenegro_ww

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