Bartender wins Elit challenge with Ibiza-inspired Martini

Andrei Pantiru

Ibiza inspired the winning recipe in a competition run by Stolichnaya’s Elit Ultra Luxury Vodka to find a distinctive twist on a classic Martini.

Andrei Pantiru (pictured), bar manager at members’ club 14 Leicester Square in London, created a cocktail called 39.02° N, named after the latitude co-ordinates of the island where the winners will be taken.

He combined the ultra-premium vodka with Frigola thyme liqueur from Ibiza, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and a thyme-infused honey syrup, garnished with a small thyme sprig. He presented the Martini to the judges, firstly shaken and then again stirred.

As winner of the London final of the Art of the Martini competition, he will join winners from two other UK heats on an exclusive Elit Ultra Luxury Vodka Ibiza Weekend along with other bartenders and club owners from around the world. The Leeds heat is being held today and Edinburgh’s is next week.

The London final took place at Oriole in Smithfield where eight competitors presented their drinks before a panel including Elit’s brand ambassador, Brent Lamberti, and cocktail experts David Miles and Teddy Joseph of the Mixxit training and drinks development team, part of Stolichnaya’s distributor, Maxxium UK.

Brent, who is pictured below with the winner, said: “Andrei’s presentation and cocktail name were very original. We liked his use of ingredients, inspired by Ibiza, and all that led to a very thought-provoking cocktail.

“Andrei also demonstrated a dual serve, showing the cocktail shaken and then stirred, which led to two very different experiences.”

Andrei added: “Elit vodka shines through every time you drink it. The spirit’s flavour and technique of production is what sets apart this wonderful vodka. The concept behind my serve was to showcase balance and contrast, including shaken and stirred, wet and dry, sweet and sour, soft and strong, longitude and latitude.”

The international city-based competition is being held in 60 cities around the world, encouraging bartenders to “let their imaginations run free” so long as they use Elit as the main ingredient and serve the drink in a martini glass.

The Art of the Martini competition was created to reflect Elit as “the ultimate vodka craftsmanship from grain to glass”, aiming to find bartenders who embodied these same characteristics.

Brent added: “Stoli has always been an innovative vodka brand – we were the first to market with flavours, the first with the super-premium Stolichnaya Gold and the first with the Elit Ultra Luxury Vodka.

“It’s this sort of innovation that drives us to be the best vodka brand on the market. Andrei showed the same drive and innovation in his cocktails today which is emblematic of the brand.”

39.02° N by Andrei Pantiru
50ml Elit Ultra Luxury Vodka
20ml Frigola thyme liqueur
30ml Pomegranate juice
10ml Lemon juice
20ml Thyme-infused honey syrup (2:1)
Add all ingredients in the cocktail shaker, add ice, shake and double strain in to a martini glass. Garnish with a small thyme sprig.

Elit Brent Andrei

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