Close Menu

Art of Italicus reveals 2024 UK winner

Leicester-based bartender Brandon Stead has won the UK final of The Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge 2024.

Brandon Stead claimed first place with his Vincent and Gallo cocktail

The UK heat was held in the Four Seasons Hotel in London on 19 March 2024, where eight finalists were tasked with impressing the judging panel with cocktails made with Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto liqueur.

Stead, of 45 West Bar in Leicester, said: “I’m in absolute disbelief, really. To go from Leicester, not a very well-known, not a top 50 London bar, and win the whole thing and represent Leicester is absolutely incredible.

“I’m just really happy to have won it, to be honest. Seeing everyone else’s drinks was amazing, [and] there were some absolutely incredible techniques shown.”

Stead’s winning cocktail, the Vincent and Gallo, was a combination of Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto, homemade clarified sunflower seed orgeat, IPA, soda, and absinthe.

The judging panel consisted of Erik Lorincz, owner of Kwãnt Mayfair; Sandrae Lawrence, co-founder and editor of The Cocktail Lovers; and ItalSpirits advocacy director Roberta Mariani.

Mariani said: “I love to see the passion of the bartenders that are getting inspired by art.

“Sometimes when your judging a competition, you always have one or two drinks that sometimes [aren’t] really great. This time was an exception. All the drinks were really tasty.”

Giuseppe Gallo, founder of ItalSpirits and Roma Bar Show, added: “This year is the biggest competition we’ve ever had. It’s the sixth year in a row, with more than 750 entrants from all across the world.

“The mix of bartenders that we saw in the competition [was] very unique. Because we do believe that bartenders are artists, they just create art in liquid form.”

The global final will take place on the 12 May, where national finalists from across the world will gather in Rome, Italy, to compete to become Italicus Bar Artist of the Year 2024.

The winner will earn a mentorship programme with Cafe La Trova in Miami, and study under Julio Cabrera.

The sixth edition of The Art of Italicus Aperitivo Challenge opened for entries to bartenders in 13 countries earlier this year.

Participating countries include Croatia, Slovenia, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No