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‘Raffles’ London Bartender, Stevie Burton, Wins Art of Bartending Competition By X MUSE Vodka’ 



Stevie Burton, Bartender at The Guards Bar, Raffles Hotel London, has been named the winner of the Art of Bartending competition by X MUSE Vodka, the first Scottish blended barley vodka to converge pioneering spirit-making and art-thinking.  The hotly contested final – comprising seven bartenders from London and Edinburgh – competed last week at X MUSE’s spiritual home Jupiter Artland sculpture park and estate, residing just outside of Edinburgh.

Former art student Burton combined her passions for bartending and art to create the two award-winning serves. The Poetic Licence art cocktail exquisitely paired X MUSE  with fig-infused mirin, sour pear and lychee cordial, butter crisp and almond syrup, topped with elderberry. The Kintsugi art martini, was inspired by Burton’s fascination with both Japan’s famed attention to detail and what it requires to make a perfect martini, and the craft of Kintsugi – she hand-produced beautiful glassware especially for the competition and the vodka was infused with yuzo white port, among other ingredients.

As the winning X MUSE Art Bartender, Burton will receive a lavish getaway to Paris to attend the prestigious Paris+ par Art Basel in October and will be treated to a guided VIP tour of the fair and taken to the best Parisian bars. X MUSE has recently started exporting to France in partnership with La Maison du Whisky.

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Burton is only the second Art of Bartending competition winner – following Ali Polyakov, Senior Bartender at London’s Bacchanalia, last year.


The Art of Bartending Competition was designed to push the boundaries of imaginative mixology as well as champion the technical precision and sophistication of even the simplest vodka martini. Bartenders were challenged to create two bespoke cocktails using at least 30ml of X MUSE vodka – one drawing inspiration from their favourite contemporary artwork or artist and the other, their version of a perfect vodka martini.

The jury comprised Turner Prize nominee Anya Gallaccio, the artist who created the amethyst grotto ‘The Light Pours out of Me’, located at Jupiter Artland and the work is a creative touchstone for X MUSE’s production process.  Gallaccio was joined by X MUSE Co-founders Robert Wilson and Vadim Grigoryan and Gary Sharpen, joint founder of The Cocktail Lovers.

Cocktails were judged out of 100 points based on: taste and aroma (40 points), creativity and originality (20 points), brand synergy and sustainability (20 points), visual appeal (15 points) and cocktail name (5 points).

“Having spent two days with these young talents from the UK bartender community, I am very happy to observe two upcoming trends that X MUSE is contributing to shape through the competition,” said Vadim Grigoryan, Co-founder of X MUSE.

“First, there’s a big resurgence in the art of vodka martini. The smilingly simple concept behind this iconic cocktail creates innumerable avenues for personalisation and creativity: from playing with fortified wine (vermouths blend, homemade fortified wine) to experimenting with garnishes (tom olives, caper berries, pickled crab apples instead of traditional olives or lemon zest) and changing the olfactive profile of martinis with creative sprays.

“Second, treating cocktails as an artistic medium. These bartenders took the competition as an opportunity to demonstrate that cocktails are increasingly being seen as not only providing organoleptic pleasure but also conveying creative and meaningful messages”.

“This experience taught me to listen, stop and receive.” Stevie Burton added. 

“For me, it was a competition that unexpectedly embodied everything I am as a person: art inspirations, esoteric element, and a spirit that I genuinely enjoy. X MUSE, unlike any other brand, took me back to my art roots, and made me realise that the way I want to make art through drinks is possible.”


Seven talented GB bartenders were selected during two heats held in London and Edinburgh, and competed in the finals in Jupiter Artland:

  • Stevie Burton, The Guards Bar at Raffles Hotel, London
  • Sharon Carrara, The Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, London
  • Dario Orsili, 100 Hotel Princess Street, Edinburgh
  • Ross Campbell, The Ivy, Glasgow
  • Caitlin Saunders, One Square Bar, The Sheraton, Edinburgh
  • Oli Rahman, Inn the Park, Winchester
  • Jack Porter, The Gothic Bar at Midland Grand London

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