Will Meredith from London bar Dandelyan triumphed in the global final of a competition run for Stolichnaya Elit vodka to find “the world’s most exclusive Martini”.
He won over the judges with his Andean Copper (pictured below), a refined take on the classic cocktail using the Andean release from the limited-edition Elit Pristine Water Series – made with spring water from Chile.
It features the zing of makrut lime, or kaffir lime, and the earthy aroma of dark truffle, perfectly complementing the spirit’s bright citrus and honeyed vanilla notes.
Will (pictured), who is senior bartender at the bar at the Mondrian London hotel, was one of 39 bartenders to take part in the competition in Ibiza, which culminated in a face-off with four other bartenders from Venice, Milan, Barcelona and Beirut. The other UK finalist was Peter Findlay from Berry & Rye in Liverpool.
Will said: “My favourite part about being a bartender is meeting so many different people, hearing their stories and serving them a cocktail they will remember. I’ve enjoyed every step of this competition and with my final Martini, I wanted to invite all the amazing people who were part of it, judges and bartenders, to enjoy a drink with me.
“With my serve, I aimed for sophistication through simplicity and took inspiration from the exquisite purity of Elit Pristine Waters Series: Andean Edition.”
The judging panel was made up of world-leading industry experts including top bartender Salvatore Calabrese from London, Michelin-starred Spanish chef Paco Roncero, Stoli Group brand ambassador Simone Bodini, and Leo Robitschek, bar director of Eleven Madison Park restaurant and The NoMad Hotel in New York City.
Salvatore Calabrese, creator of the renowned Direct, or Naked, Naked Martini and the Breakfast Martini, commented: “You know you’re tasting a special Martini when all your senses are taken on a journey, from the moment it touches your lips, to all the different flavours playing on your taste buds and the aromas left lingering on your palate. It takes pure artistry to tell a story in a glass and, for me, Will’s Martini story was the most memorable.”
Will’s winning Martini will be listed for a year in Paco’s Michelin-star restaurant, La Terraza del Casino in Madrid. He will also get the chance to further his connections in the bartending world by visiting the Tales of the Cocktail festival which is scheduled to take place in New Orleans in 2018.
Brent Lamberti, Elit vodka global brand ambassador and the event’s host, said: “The Elit Art of Martini Global Finale was a showcase of the world’s most visionary Martini makers. From over 800 entries, we met 39 of the bartenders in Ibiza, where we narrowed our search to five of the best.
“All finalists demonstrated great artistic vision and creativity. Will Meredith’s final Martini, Andean Copper, stood out by highlighting the subtle notes of our limited-edition Elit Pristine Water Series: Andean Edition with elegance and simplicity.”
Full list of finalists
• Australia (Melbourne) – Blake Hall (The Den, Melbourne)
• Australia (Sydney) – Jake Down (This Must Be the Place, Sydney)
• Austria (Salzburg) – Melanie Mösenbichler (EurothermenResort, Bad Ischl)
• Austria (Vienna) – Heinz Kaiser (Dino’s, Vienna)
• Belgium (Antwerp/Ghent) – Charlotte De Fevere (L’Apereau, Blankenberge)
• Belgium (Brussels) – Cederic Millet (Casbar, Sint-Truiden)
• Canada (Toronto) – Michele Maffei (Noce, Toronto)
• Cyprus (Nicosia) – Marcos Horattides (Marina Beach Bar, Limassol)
• Czech Republic (Prague) – Milan Zaleš (Bugsy’s Bar, Prague)
• Finland (Helsinki) – Jan Lindgren (Medicin Man, Hyvinkää)
• France (Paris) – Steven Lages (Harry’s New York Bar, Paris)
• Georgia (Tbilisi) – Vasil Gongadze (Egoist Club, Tbilisi)
• Greece (Athens) – Previstas Alexandros (Casero Feels Like Home, Paiania)
• Hong Kong (Hong Kong) – Paul Kwok (De Luna Tapas Bar)
• Hungary (Budapest) – Atilla Bús (Sol Bistro, Szeged)
• Iceland (Reykjavik) – Jonmundur Thorsteinsson (Apótek Kitchen Bar, Reykjavik)
• Italy (Bari) – Davide Mitacchione (Luau Tiki Bar, Bari)
• Italy (Milan) – Lorenzo Allegrini (Morgante Cocktail & Soul, Milan)
• Italy (Rome) – Solomiya Grytsyshyn (Chorus Cafè, Rome)
• Italy (Venice) – Lucas Kelm (Amo, Venice)
• Lebanon (Beirut) – Firas Youssef (The Smallville Hotel, Beirut)
• Luxembourg (Luxembourg) – Marius Birzan (Grand Hôtel Cravat)
• Portugal (Algarve) – Diego Santos (7 Imeio Wine Bar, Olhão)
• Portugal (Lisbon) – Rui Santos (Instituto Plural de Interior, Penafiel)
• Singapore (Singapore) – Sim Sze Wei (Atlas)
• Spain (Barcelona) – Luis Bustamante (Metric, Barcelona)
• Spain (Bilbao) – Elias Escudero (Gu San Sebastián, San Sebastián)
• Spain (Madrid) – David González (Bar Cock, Madrid)
• Sweden (Stockholm) – Nils Pettersson (Bistro Rigoletto, Stockholm)
• Taiwan (Taipei) – Andersen Huang (Asia 49, Taipei City)
• Thailand (Bangkok) – Jane Kaewyod (Sorrento Sathorn, Bangkok)
• UAE (Dubai) – Santanu Chanda (Buddha-Bar, Dubai)
• UK (London) – Will Meredith (Dandelyan, London)
• UK (Manchester) – Peter Findlay (Berry & Rye, Liverpool)
• USA (Dallas) – Trevor Landry (Dish, Dallas)
• USA (Miami) – Seth Weinberg (Fontainebleau Hotel Miami Beach)
• USA (New York) – Amanda Toar (One One Four Bar & Lounge at The Marmara Park Avenue, NYC)
• USA (Las Vegas) – Sarah Delgado-Rith (The Dorsey at The Venetian, Las Vegas)
• USA (Los Angeles) – Michael West (The Cannery, Newport Beach)