Pink Your Drink!

rhuby cocktail
rhuby cocktail

Last year, Alcohol Professor's Amanda Schuster wrote a piece on the lovely ladies of the industry at Tales of the Cocktail. It was here Amanda got to meet with Ylva Binder, owner of Rhuby Rhubarb Liqueur to discuss how women are propelling the drinks industry forward. The role of women in the industry and female entrepreneurship is something that Binder and the team at Rhuby/Pink Your Drink foundation actively promote whilst also raising money for charity. Rhuby is an all natural Rhubarb liqueur from Sweden. At 20% ABV it is a beautiful elixir that can easily be used as a base in cocktails and has been gaining more and more traction with its success since its launch onto the market in November 2011. One of the great things about Rhuby is its elegant taste - it's not too sweet but still has that wonderful effect of reminding me of my childhood and those tasty rhubarb and custard sweets that I have always been particularly fond of.

Even better, it's a product made by women for women.

Master blender Solveig Sommarström (previously Head of Lab at Absolut) uses wheat from near the distillery to make a clean vodka base. The rhubarb, which is also farmed and harvested near the distillery grounds, is frozen to extract more juice. That juice is then blended with the vodka as well as water from Storskogens Källa nature reserve, a little sugar and natural aroma to further enhance the nose of the liqueur. A small touch of Bourbon Bean Vanilla is the last thing added to the mix. It is then left to settle for a minimum of 24 hours before being bottled.

Since 2011, Rhuby and the PYD foundation (founded by Binder) has been committed to raising money in support of the Pink Ribbon. Binder says this of the work that they do:

‘It is important to highlight talent wherever they are and educate consumers about their profession for high quality consumption, similarly making waves for the women in this industry for a great cause. Pink Your Drink started in 2011 and we will maintain this competition for as long as I am around – wishing to become an important fundraiser against breast cancer in the world.’

There are a few ways in which Rhuby and its Pink Your Drink competition raise money for Breast Cancer charities. One example is the annual (sometimes bi-annual) auction of Pink artwork and photography. Each image and its profit is donated to a chosen charity for the Pink Ribbon. These are usually held in private venues with individuals having expressed an interest in running the evening (often a dinner).

Additionally, Binder regularly speaks at various conferences for female entrepreneurship. All payments for this are donated straight to the PYD foundation.

photo by Peter Ortvik
photo by Peter Ortvik

Last summer the team spent 3 months in an RV traveling around the USA starting in New Orleans to promote the PYD competition and interview female bartenders and industry experts. Part of this trip went towards making a documentary called 'Women Behind Bars' featuring over 50 of the most influential women in the drinks industry. From CEOs to bartenders the documentary also includes male perspectives on females within the industry. The documentary is due to be released in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month.

PYD: an Overview

The PYD competition was first launched at London Cocktail Club in 2012 with judges:

  • Mark Ludmon from Bar Magazine
  • Ivy Mix & Lynnette Marrero, Founders of Speed Rack,
  • Solveig Sommarström – Master Blender at Rhuby
  • Ylva Binder, Founder of Rhuby.

In the end it was Naomi Fletcher from Hawksmoor bar in London that took the crown.

In 2013 it was Sweden's turn to host the competition and it was Sophie Larsson that wowed the judges with her creation.

In 2014 the competition expanded its reach to include the UK, Sweden and the U.S.

The UK final was held on the opening day of London Cocktail Week at Callooh Callay one of the worlds Top 50 bars. After an exciting day of shaking and stirring it was Sian Ferguson from Heads and Tales bar in Edinburgh that won herself a trip to Sweden to see the home of Rhuby.

The Swedish final was held in Stockholm where Charlotte Halzius from The Orangeriet took first place with a stunning drink served in a birdcage.

The U.S. final was held at The Dead Rabbit in New York, a bar that has been collecting accolade after accolade since its opening in February 2013. Finalists from all over the U.S. took part including New York's James Menite. As an honorary finalist Menite was the first male to ever take part in the Pink Your Drink competition.

Judges in the U.S. were:

The winner was declared as Liz Pearce from The Drifter in Chicago who joined the other two winners from the national finals on a trip to Sweden.

This year there are 2 ways that you can win a trip to the global finals in Sweden. The ceremony includes a 3 course meal, a live comedy show, a performance by Julia Rosqvist, known for her song 'Running on Broken Glass' and a Pink artwork auction. And of course, all proceeds go to breast cancer awareness:

VENUES: create a drink for sale on your menu using Rhuby. The top 8 bars selling the most Rhuby by the 1st of October will be awarded a ticket to the final and gala dinner in Sweden. There are also 2 wildcard places up for grabs for the best Rhuby cocktail submitted as part of the competition.

BARTENDERS: create a Rhuby drink and submit it here for a chance at being one of eight lucky finalists chosen to attend the global finals in Sweden.

This year instead of National finals the cocktails will be blind tasted and the top 8 will be chosen to attend and compete for a prize in front of a panel of acclaimed international judges.

Best of luck to all the entrants!

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