Beluga Vodka Rewrites the Script With Their Signature Bartender Program
Beluga Vodka holds an esteemed reputation in the vodka market. Simply put, Beluga is not the vodka to turn to when you’re looking for an easy mixer; rather, Beluga is a vodka that stands alone as a spirit. With its unique tasting notes and intricate distillation process, Beluga begs to be treated as a deliberate ingredient in a cocktail, not a casual afterthought. This may seem counterintuitive to the way vodka is viewed among a certain percentage of American bartenders, thanks to a decline in popularity following its late 90’s oversaturation of the market. However, Beluga is determined to rewrite the script by showing the industry just how crucial a role vodka plays in the world of spirits. It was with this commitment to excellence that inspired the creation of the Beluga Signature Bartender Program.
It all started with a Masterclass: to first familiarize bartenders with Beluga, and then how to effectively highlight its flavor profile in cocktails. Over the course of a few weeks, bartenders from Los Angeles and New York City engaged in a specially designed program that highlighted major cocktail trends, Beluga product studies, and, most importantly, tips and suggestions for how to win a cocktail competition from industry veterans Dale DeGroff and Brian Van Flandern.
After graduating from the Masterclass, the participating bartenders were invited to apply for the program’s Creative Stage, which challenged them to re-imagine a classic cocktail by using local ingredients and Beluga Noble vodka. Out of all the applicants, only the most creative from each city were chosen to personally present their cocktails in front of an esteemed board of judges, consisting of a Beluga Brand Ambassador, a trainer from the Masterclass, and an influential bartender from the region. From those who applied, only three from each city qualified as finalists.
The Beluga Bartender Program still has one last round before two United States winners can be named. On July 11, the six finalists will gather in New York City for one last test of their behind-the-bar expertise. Here, the bartenders will use all of their training from the Masterclass, along with their skills honed from years in the industry, to create a cocktail that perfectly encapsulates Beluga’s core values: sophistication, class, and artistry. In addition to creating a specialty cocktail, finalists will be faced with a secret challenge that won’t reveal itself until the event is underway, testing the bartender’s ability to remain composed in a high-pressure environment. How will the finalists rise to this challenge? Who among them will emerge victorious with the chance to represent the U.S. in St. Petersburg in a Global Final against the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Russia? All of these answers will unfold on July 11.
Los Angeles Finalists
Jacklyn Davin: "The Lady Grey"
- Beluga Noble infused with Ikaati Imperial Earl Grey
- simple syrup (1:1)
- freshly squeezed lemon juice
- egg white
- 2 orange twists
Add Earl Grey Beluga Noble, simple syrup, egg whites, and lemon juice to shaker. Squeeze the zest out of the two orange twists, but do not drop in the shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Take out the ice, then dry shake the ingredients again to emulsify. Strain into coupe glass. Add three dashes of Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters, and an orange twist for garnish.
- 2.25 oz. Beluga Noble Vodka
- .75 oz. juniper-infused Lillet Blanc
Stirred and served in a coupe glass. Garnish with a radish cup filled with juniper-infused Lillet Blanc caviar pearls. For the infused Lillet Blanc, soak 50 grams of ground juniper berries in 1 liter of Lillet Blanc. Infuse for 12 hours, then strain through coffee filter.
Jess Mess: "The Blushing Beluga"
- 1.5 oz. Beluga Noble
- .75 oz. lime juice
- .75 oz. Manzanilla Sherry
- .5 oz. cranberry liqueur
- .5 oz. Petite Shrub
- .5 oz. gum syrup
- 3 dashes Maldonado Sea Salt Water
Shaken and served with a lime peel.
New York Finalists
- 2 oz. Beluga Allure
- ¾ oz. lime juice
- ¾ oz. Becherovka
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
Craig J. Schiedlo: "The Battle of Allure"
- 2 oz. Beluga Allure
- ¾ oz. Mastiha
- ¾ oz. Sol Tarasco Añejo
- Barspoon of Ancho Reyes Verde
Chelan Finney: "Lady in Red"
- 1 ½ oz. Beluga Noble
- ¾ oz. lemon juice
- ¼ oz. Grand Mariner
- 1 egg white
- 1 ml. Burlesque Bitters