Moskovskaya cocktail contest puts the focus on food

London bartender Pie Panah has won a trip to the Moscow Bar Show in a Moskovskaya Vodka competition that tested competitors’ food matching ability as well as their mixology skills.


Moskovskaya distributor Hi-Spirits asked entrants to create a cocktail to accompany an entrée or main course, as well as an aperitif for diners to enjoy before the meal. The dishes were created by Jamie Dobbin, head chef at the One Canada Square restaurant and bar in Canary Wharf, where finalists gathered to prepare their drinks for the judges.


Having been challenged to create a cocktail to complement a main course of rye-crusted cod , Pie’s winning recipe used butter-washed Moskovskaya Vodka as its base, along with chili-infused cornichon brine, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.


His aromatic aperitif combined Moskovskaya Vodka with Becherovka, Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Gin and a few drops of Chartreuse Elixir. Pie created the drinks while working at the Forge & Co bar in Shoreditch, London, although he has since moved on, and wins an all-inclusive trip to The Moscow Bar Show 2015.


In second place was Maxime Creusot of Steam & Rye in the City, who served a Negron inspired aperitif served in Russian dolls. For his main course match, Maxime shook Moskovskaya Vodka with vanilla syrup, limoncello and a large sorrel leaf and garnished his cocktail with an oyster leaf.


Joint third place went to Marco Rosino from Chotto Matte in Soho and Slavo Kytka from Scarfe’s Bar at the Rosewood hotel in Holborn.


Jamie Dobbin’s dishes were:


  • Vodka Cured Salmon, Caviar, Pickled Fennel: “We used the Moskovskaya vodka to cure the salmon for the starter by mixing the vodka with salt, sugar and citrus zest.  Leaving it to cure for four hours allowed the vodka to really permeate the salmon, leaving its mildly peppery flavour.  The salmon was garnished with watercress and radish, and finished with a citrus and caviar dressing lifted by adding a dash of Moskovskaya.”


  • Dark Rye Crusted Peterheadcod Fillet, Sorrel Dumplings, Caviar Sauce: “I noticed the bready characteristic of the vodka and thought to make a rye bread crust to coat the cod, using rye bread, a touch of parmesan, a splash of Moskovskaya and lemon zest. Having tasted the dish with the vodka it was a surprisingly good match, really picking up the accents of the vodka. The dish was finished with Moskovskaya and caviar beurre blanc.”


Dobbin added: “It was a pleasure to match Moskovskaya with the dishes to be served, and in fact the vodka was integral in both.”


Dan Bolton, Hi-Spirits managing director and chair of the judging panel, said: “In Russia, vodka is a traditional accompaniment to food as well as an aperitif, and we wanted to celebrate that link with our competition. The competitors came up with some imaginative drinks that respected that tradition while also pushing the envelope in terms of cocktail innovation.


“The quality of the food was excellent and the service from the One Canada Square team was immaculate.” –


Owned by SPI Spirits, whose portfolio also includes the Stolichnaya brand, Moskovskaya was originally distilled in Moscow. Bolton added: “Moskovskaya is a authentic, traditional vodka that has real credibility with bartenders, as well as operators and customers.”


For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email, or visit


Caption to attached photo: Front Pie Panah, Forge &Co; back l to r Maxime Creusot, Steam & Rye; Slavo Kytka, Scarfe’s Bar; Marco Rosino, Chotto Matte.


For press information please contact John Porter at ShielPorter Communications 07734 054389