Bartenders triumph in food and cocktail pairing challenge


Pie Panah has won a competition that challenged bartenders to develop cocktails with Moskovskaya Vodka that would pair well with food.

Pie, formerly at Forge & Co in London, created an aperitif inspired by the vodka brand’s Russian heritage as well as a savoury cocktail to complement a main course of rye-crusted cod with sorrel dumplings and caviar sauce.

Organised by UK distributor Hi-Spirits, the competition was held at restaurant and bar One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, with bartenders selected after visits to London bars and restaurants.

In second place was Maxime Creusot of Steam & Rye in the City. In joint third were Marco Rosino from Chotto Matte in Soho and Slavo Kytka from Scarfe’s Bar at the Rosewood hotel in Holborn. Pie is pictured above centre, with Maxime left and Marco and Slavo behind.

The judges were Hi-Spirits managing director Dan Bolton, its London brand development manager Adam Marks, and Mark Ludmon, editor of Bar magazine.

Pie’s aromatic aperitif combined Moskovskaya Vodka with Becherovka, Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Gin and a few drops of Chartreuse Elixir.

His cocktail to accompany the main course used butter-washed Moskovskaya Vodka as its base plus chilli-infused cornichon brine, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.

Maxime’s aperitif was inspired by a Negroni, using a mixture of raspberry-infused Aperol, Old Spice berry and vanilla sugar plus Moskovskaya Vodka, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Bob’s Bitters and sea salt – served in Russian dolls.

For the main course, Maxime shook Moskovskaya Vodka with vanilla syrup, limoncello and a large sorrel leaf for a cocktail served with an oyster leaf garnish.

Slavo’s aperitif was made by pouring a shot of Moskovskaya Vodka into a pipe glass sprayed with absinthe, with a flamed star anise on top. For the main course, his cocktail combined the vodka with camomile syrup and lime shrub, topped with champagne, with an orange twist as garnish.

Marco’s aperitif mixed the vodka with ratafia, ginger syrup, sugar syrup, egg white and lime juice. For the food pairing, he was challenged to devise a cocktail to match a starter of vodka-cured salmon, caviar and fennel. His drink combined Moskovskaya with kummel, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, apple juice, lime juice and gomme syrup, garnished with an orange twist.

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