Belvedere Vodka announces winner of its global Martini Challenge

Sabrine Dhaliwal

Belvedere Vodka has announced Sabrine Dhaliwal (pictured) from Canada as winner of The Challenge – its competition to find a twist on a Martini.

She won with a cocktail called Pink Skies, which combines the vodka with grapefruit and cucumber. “Belvedere shines through this cocktail, bringing in a strong rye spice and rich texture,” she said. See below for the full recipe.

Her prize is a dream holiday to Jamaica at the luxurious GoldenEye Resort that was once home to Ian Fleming, the creator of Vodka Martini fan James Bond. Belvedere has a partnership with the new James Bond film, Spectre, due for release in November.

Sabrine, who works at West Restaurant in Vancouver, was one of eight finalists selected out of hundreds of bartenders to take part in the final rounds of the competition in London over the past week. The UK was represented by Alex Summerfield of Annabel’s in London.

The rounds set a series of challenges, from travelling around London’s iconic landmarks to collect the most refined ingredients to crafting exquisite Martinis cocktails paired with a bespoke menu created by leading chef Marcus Wareing. The announcement ties in with World Martini Day today.

The judges were Alessandro Palazzi of Dukes Bar at London’s Dukes Hotel, Erik Lorincz of The American Bar at The Savoy, Tristan Stephenson of The Worship Street Whistling Shop in London, and cocktail expert and historian Anistatia Miller.

Claire Smith-Warner, Belvedere’s head of spirit creation and mixology, said: “We encouraged bartenders to embark on The Challenge and craft a Martini cocktail to be celebrated by generations of cocktail lovers.

“We were overwhelmed with the exciting and ground-breaking Martinis presented, but there was one that stood out beyond what anyone imagined. We are so pleased to crown Sabrine Dhaliwal as our winner of The Challenge on World Martini Day.”

Marcus Wareing, who heads restaurant Tredwell’s in Covent Garden, London, said: “The Martini is a classic cocktail and there are so many different ways to put a creative spin on the drink. However, to make it work the creativity all needs to come together and be well balanced and the flavours need to be bang on – just like the creation of an excellent dish.

“Sabrine Dhaliwal demonstrated real flair in putting the flavours together in a unique and exciting way – so good that we will be showcasing the Pink Skies Martini on our cocktail menu at Tredwell’s.”

The other finalists were Gregory Hazac of George V hotel in Paris, Nick Selvedurai of Cookie in Melbourne, James Millar of Orleans in Auckland, Steve Leong of Tess Bar & Kitchen in Singapore, Matteo Zed of Del Posto in New York City, and Keith Baker of Oak & Ivy in Las Vegas.

Belvedere is made with Dankowskie rye, a superior grain grown in Poland’s Mazovian region, and diluted with proprietary artisan water, giving it the quality and character to be used in Vodka Martinis around the world.

Pictured below: The Belvedere Challenge finalists with Claire Smith-Warner and brand ambassador Ali Dedianko.

Belvedere Challenge finalists with Claire Smith-Warner & Ali Dedianko

Pink Skies by Sabrine Dhaliwal (pictured below)
45ml Belvedere Vodka
15ml Lillet Rosé
3 slices of long English cucumber
Grapefruit peel
Stir, double strain and serve neat with a grapefruit twist.

Pink Skies

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