With the pandemic affecting nightlife, many have turned to home bars and taken to experimenting with cocktails. But what really goes into making a good cocktail and what ingredients lead the way? Super-premium vodka, Belvedere, approaches cocktails as consumers approach food– looking at ingredients and understanding their effects on the body. IANSlife speaks to Alice Farquhar, Global Brand Education & Training Manager, Belvedere, to find out what makes a lip-smacking cocktail on the sidelines of the Belvedere ‘Made With Nature’ campaign launch.
Farquhar has taken Belvedere education to all corners of the world over the past four years combining her passions of travel and people and training over 50,000 people globally. In addition to her education work, Alice has been involved in the creation of new innovative spirits as part of the Belvedere portfolio, including the Single Estate Rye Vodkas and Heritage 176.
Q: What are “healthy cocktails” and how is Belvedere promoting these?
A: I think it is important to remember that there isn’t a ‘healthy cocktail’ so to speak. However, we have been championing to help consumers make more conscious decisions, based on learning and understanding ingredients when choosing what to drink. Our philosophy when it comes to cocktails is reflected in our Made with Nature platform which focuses on ‘best, fresh, simple ingredients, avoiding anything artificial, flavoured or heavily sweetened. We try and stick to using ingredients in their original natural state from a bush or tree rather than artificially manufactured.
For me, this is important both professionally and personally. Professionally, we are approaching cocktails as many consumers approach food, looking at ingredients and understanding their effects on the body, making mindful choices, occasionally reducing the ABV for a lighter option and this has been something we have pursued for many years. Personally, maintaining a mindful and better lifestyle balance through food and drink, I love ensuring that my cocktails are considered and not hiding artificial ingredients or overly sweetened products.
Q: With most of the world undergoing a series of lockdowns through 2020 into 2021, home bars became safe havens, your take?
A: Absolutely! I think prior to the onset of Covid, people had perhaps been intimidated by the idea of making cocktails at home and many had not seen the value in the investment in the tools or more premium products for home consumption. With nearly all of the world’s bars and restaurants closed for a period of time across the globe, I think people expanded their comfort zone and took up new interests and hobbies. Coupled with the incredible work via social media and platforms such as Masterclass, bartenders made themselves valuable learning assets virtually teaching the skills to consumers in their own homes, reducing the intimidation and enabling people to have fun experiences.
Q: What makes Belvedere a great option for amateurs who want to learn the art of mixing?
A: The creation of a great drink or piece of art is all about foundation and what you start with. Belvedere is an excellent choice to create an elegant, structured base with ample complexity and flavour to build other ingredients on top. Whether you are making a simple martini, a drink we always say where there is nowhere to hide, or a more complex mixed drink with multiple dimensions, the power of our rye character always shines through. And, you are safe in the knowledge the Belvedere is Made with Nature, free from additives, 100 per cent natural and sugar free under polish law.
Q: Tell us more about the “made with nature” platform and how its paving the way to a more conscious approach.
A: For us, it was a natural story to tell and over the past six or so years we have heavily focused on our natural credentials when educating among trade and consumers, but we realized we had an opportunity to really showcase what that meant through Made With Nature. Not only does it showcase the literal description of our liquid made with rye, water and distilled by fire, all recognizable and key elements in nature, but that our commitment to sustainability and CSR is driven well beyond the bottle into our commitment to be one of the greenest distilleries in the world, the commit to the land we share and cultivate to create our product and preservation of energy via projects such as our new biomass plant at our distillery. When it comes to drinks, our cocktails enable the consumer to be more mindful when choosing a cocktail and therefore in turn leads to a more conscious consumption mindset supported by all elements of the campaign.
Q: Your favourite cocktail and go-to ingredient ?
A: For me, I love anything fresh and green such as cucumber, basil, mint. Nothing too sweet, but a light fragrant ingredient that allows the peppery character of the rye to shine through. You can’t go wrong with citrus of course either, and if you want to mix it up from lemon, I always recommend pink grapefruit which pars really nicely with Belvedere.
* My favourite cocktail currently is the Belvedere Air:
1.5 oz/45 ml Belvedere Vodka
75 oz/20 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
.5 oz/15 ml Honey Water (2:1 Honey to Water)
2 oz/60 ml Almond Milk
Sprig of Mint
Place all ingredients into a shaker and shake hard with ice. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice, and garnish with mint sprig.