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Mixing it up and making vodka a class act in China

IN an effort to sell vodka as a classy drink for trendy people, the Belvedere Beat presents a tantalizing nightclub show complete with bongo drummers and white-suited bartenders. Yao Minji takes a sip.

To many Chinese people, vodka is strong and cheap and not very exciting, but Belvedere international mixologist Sam Jeveons and his team are shaking things up and making it classy.

Actually, vodka is quite "in" these days around the world and Belvedere wants to make it happen in China as well. So Jeveons whips up colorful zesty cocktails with the Polish luxury brand in a nightclub-like performance by the Belvedere Beat.

The Belvedere crew, which intoxicated clubs in Taiwan, Singapore and Japan last year, debuted in Shanghai last week at Vue Bar in Hyatt on the Bund hotel.

The crew includes smiling bongo drummers, stylish photographers and stylish energetic brand ambassadors in glamorous white suit and top hat or all in black like classy bartenders.

The intriguing performance creates a common nightlife scene: Partygoers enter a club, pose for photos and accept a colorful cocktail from the bartender. The performers' provocative smiles, eye contact and body language suggest that vodka is sexy and encourage people to learn more about the music, the picture and the drink.

The bongo players not only drum furiously but also add layers of meaning with their dancing and body language in the dim lights, getting cheers from the audience.

The photographers are also cool, clicking away with a bit of exaggeration, their smiles encouraging people to assume a crazy pose.

Then comes bartender Jeveons, the brand ambassador of Belvedere. With a big smile he reveals his latest vodka cocktail recipes, which encourages everyone to try.

"Making a cocktail is just such a fun experience that you should all try at home, even without all these professional tools. Add all the ingredients or whatever you like and just shake," says Jeveons, giving it a vigorous shake.

"It's the shaking that makes the cocktail great. You add all your flavor, energy, passion and love for the drink by shaking it hard," he says.

The crew creates an edgy and bohemian ambience, making the performance like an off-stage scene in which everyone is invited to add their touch.

Belvedere Vodka, a Polish luxury brand, has a mild and pleasing aroma. The distillery, following 600 years of tradition, is made from Dankowskie Gold Rye and water, nothing added. Although strong, it smells clean and the taste is subtle.

BelvedereBeat gigs

Date: May 29, June 5

Venue: M1NT, 318 Fuzhou Rd

Tel: 6391-2811

Date: June 19, 26-27

Venue: Vue Bar, 32-33/F, Hyatt on the Bund, 199 Huangpu Rd

Tel: 6393-1234 ext 6348

Date: May 29-30, June 12

Venue: Brown Sugar, Bldg 15, 181 Taicang Rd

Tel: 5382-8998

Date: May 30, June 26-27

Venue: CD Soho, 4 Hengshan Rd

Date: May 29-30

Venue: Latitude Longitude, 1 Yueyang Rd


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