“The first Lady Drink competition took place in 1996 in Perugia. It is still a unique competition as in any other countries, untilÂ nowadays, there isn`t an event like thisâ€ Â – These are the words of the founder of the event, Danilo Bellucci. In the past 20 years he has been taking care of the organization and the selection of the competitors.
In the past years Lady Drink aimed to reward the excellences in the bartending world. More and more often inÂ Cocktail bars, we find numerous barladies and professionals constantly increasing along with creativity. Thatâ€™s why every year a bigger and bigger number of bar ladiesÂ not only decide to dedicate their passion to study and improve themselves but send their recipes to the Lady Drink competitionÂ who is meeting a risingÂ challenge inÂ selecting what theyÂ believe are the most innovative ones.
The Lady DrinkÂ is the most important European competition for Bar Ladies and celebrated itÂ´s 20thÂ year Anniversary this year at the competition at Excelsior Palace Hotel in Rapallo, Italy on oct 17.
RapalloÂ is a charming little town near Portofino on the north-west coast of Italy. The Excelsior Palace Hotel offers some of the best views you can imagine…you have the whole sea right in front of your balcony!
Before the competition started we had a half day off and went on a tour to Portofino and hadÂ coffee at a little cafÃ¨ in the harbour right at the waterÂ´s edgeÂ andÂ all the boats, and we tookÂ a steep walk up to the church on top to seeÂ all the stunning views of the sea and the cliffs from two sides and to do some souvenir shopping on the way. The Portofino area is just stunning with amazing views around every corner you turn and I can really recommend a trip there.
Back at the hotel, it was time for lunch and then getting ready for the competition which also had masterclasses byÂ the sponsoring brands. In the competition were 40 contestants that had 7 minutes each to create 3 each of their cocktails…which then was presented to us at the judging table to evaluate until there were only two contestants left.
It was so fun to see so much creativity and to try their cocktails from which only one could be the winner…it`s not easy to beat 39 others and there were more than one great cocktail in the bunch! …so not so easy to judge either. ThereÂ´s many aspects to look at and think about and at the same time you cannot be too slow because the cocktails keep coming!
I saw so many creative presentations but the taste and the overall impression also has to live up toÂ the beautiful presentation…and IÂ think the winner lived up to all aspects of a great tasty cocktail without beeing too sweet or too anything! it was just perfect balance and innovative beautifulÂ garnish fit for the cocktail and the theme.
L’ American Ã¨ Don RaffaÃ¨
Here`s the winning cocktail created by Bello Ilaria (Bar Talea di Tor Vaianica (RM)
The text on the note in Italian is the quote from a song by De AndrÃ©, that says “you like Campari or want the coffee”? They are 2 of the ingredients of the drink and the title of the song la Don RaffaÃ¨. The quote on the note makes the whole drink theme with how it tasted even better! just excellent! and very creative!
L’ American Ã¨ Don RaffaÃ¨
2cl Red Vermouth Carlo Alberto
2cl bitter Campari
1cl China Martini
1,5cl Patron XOÂ CaffÃ¨
O,5 Bitter Cioccolato (Bittermen`sÂ Xocolatl Mole)
Congratualtions to the winner! and cheers to all the contestants! Here`s a little picture parade of the contest, the hotel and beautiful Portofino:
Excelsior Palace Hotel, Rapallo
The view from the terrace at the beautiful Excelsior Palace Hotel where the contest was held.
This hotel was built in 1901.
From my balcony…
The Lady Drink Competition:
Stage is ready for the contestants…
And so are we…(me on the right and on the left, Laura Marnich (Zuma bar, Dubai) the third judge, Elizaveta Evdokimova (Moscow) is unf missing in this picture)
Getting ready to work…
AndÂ it`s on!
And the drinks start coming in, so much creativity!
So many beautiful drinks!
Speaker and co-organizer of the contest, Gianni Merenda and one of the ladies preparing her three cocktails.
And in the end…the two finalists….out of 40 cocktails, where theÂ L’ American Ã¨ Don RaffaÃ¨ won…
The winner, Bello Ilaria with the founder of the event (on the right) Danilo Bellucci.
The harbour in Portofino
They say the emerald waters in this area comers from the deep cliffs underwater creating layers of light…
This is so mediterranian….
Portofino seen from the church on top.
Wild cliffs and sea on the other side.
And last…yet another view from the hotel in Rapallo, sunrise on the last day and time to leave this beautiful place. Thank you Lady Drink and Italy for having me! hope to come back.