Lassi twist helps bartender win Pink Your Drink global final

pink your drink finalists

A cocktail inspired by an Indian lassi helped Estonian bartender Irina Jelizarova win the global final of Rhuby Liqueur’s Pink Your Drink competition.

Her drink, Rhuby Travels To Goa, earned her a place in the global final which was held this weekend in Åkers styckebruk, west of Stockholm, which is the home of the rhubarb-based Rhuby Liqueur.

The finalists, who included UK winner Connie Cain from Rynd Bar & Kitchen in Reading, were also challenged to create a twist on a classic using Rhuby with only 15 minutes’ notice and to present another original cocktail that meant something personal to themselves.

The all-female Pink Your Drink competition champions the role of women in the bar and spirits industry and raises funds to fight breast cancer. The winners were announced at a fund-raising gala dinner on Saturday in Åkers styckebruk, tying in with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In second place was Jolanta Malczewska from Holmen Bar in Stavanger in Norway and in third was Inga Zarina from Scandic Östersund City hotel’s Plaza Restaurant in Östersund in northern Sweden, representing Sweden but originally from Latvia.

The other finalists, who all won their national Pink Your Drink competitions, were Laura Clemente Garcia from Bristol Bar in Madrid, Riina Uusimäki from Leipätehdas and DOM Munkhaus in Vaasa in Finland, and Nicole Osorio from New York City representing the USA.

Mille Julie Wienberg, who won Pink Your Drink in Denmark, was unable to attend the global final due to illness.

Irina now works at Lidkoeb in Copenhagen which belongs to the same owners as the city’s world-leading bar Ruby.

The judges in the global final in Sweden were New York bartender Paula Lukas, Rhuby brand ambassador Jolene Cadwell, who was formerly a bartender at Flipside Cocktail Club in Bristol, last year’s Sweden winner Charlotte Halziuz of Ling Long in Stockholm, Chris Grøtvedt from The Thief in Oslo and founder of Oslo Bar Show, and Mark Ludmon, editor of Bar magazine in the UK.

The Pink Your Drink charity and competition were created by Ylva Binder, the founder of Rhuby, a 20% ABV liqueur made from rhubarb grown in the Åkers styckebruk area.

The competition tied in with the launch and premiere of a short film, Women Behind Bars, reporting on the challenges and benefits for women working in the spirits and bar industry around the world. The documentary was made by journalist and freelance Pepi Sappal and features bartenders from the US and the UK.

Pictured (left to right) at Saturday’s gala dinner: Irina Jelizarova, Connie Cain, Riina Uusimäki, Nicole Osorio, Jolene Cadwell, Paula Lukas, Inga Zarina, Laura Clemente Garcia and Jolanta Malczewska.

Rhuby Travels To Goa by Irina Jelizarova
60ml Rhuby Liqueur
2 Fresh curry leaves
2 barspoons Greek yoghurt
2 barspoons Homemade rhubarb plum jam
Add the curry leaves in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice and shake hard. Double strain. Garnish with shredded pistachio nuts and a fresh curry leaf.

Updated on October 29, 2015, with corrections to the cocktail recipe.

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