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Italicus names UK Aperitivo Challenge winner

Italian aperitivo Italicus Rosolio de Bergamotto has crowned Valeria Coletti, of London’s Baccarat Bar, as the UK winner of its Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge 2023.

Coletti’s prize includes a trip to Rome to compete at the global final on 28 May

For the 2023 edition of the competition, bartenders across the country were asked to craft an art-inspired cocktail using each ingredient ‘at its full potential’ to limit waste.

Nine bartenders across the country were selected for the UK national finals.

Coletti won for her creation Bee the Action, which ‘wowed’ judges with its combination of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, sweet vermouth, strawberry fermented honey, black pepper, and orange soda with a touch of saline.

Her cocktail was inspired by local and seasonal produce following the philosophy of the Red Earth Environmental Art Group – a UK-based artists community which focuses on installations and performances that are fully local, sustainable and recycled.

Second place was awarded to Lorenzo Piscitello, of Artesian Bar, London, with his cocktail Yellow Line, made with Italicus, rice cordial, saffron liqueur, soda water and absinthe drops, while third place went to Sam Mosely of The Golden Pineapple, Brighton, for the Rays on Gentian cocktail. The serve was made with Italicus, white vermouth, extra dry mastiha, and beetroot, with fennel cordial and soda.

Coletti will now join the competition’s other regional finalists in Rome for the global final on 28 May.

The UK heat was hosted at The Hoxton Hotel in Southwark, London.

The judging panel included Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business; freelance journalist Tyler Zielinksi; and Italspirits advocacy director Roberta Mariani. 

“We are really pleased with the participants’ passion and creations, with this year’s level [being] really high and innovative,” said Mariani. “We have seen so many talented bartenders in this final and we hope the winner will proudly represent the UK on the global stage.”

Coletti’s prize includes a year’s membership to the learning platform Shoshin Art Club, and a trip to Rome to compete at the global final.

The global winner will receive the title of Global Italicus Bar Artist of the Year 2023, and a trip with a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ mentorship programme at Barcelona-based bar Paradiso.

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