A number of brands, bars and drink industry leaders have responded to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine with drinks-themed initiatives helping raise funds for relief efforts. Following the success of the #CookforUkraine fundraising initiative, set up by Eastern European chefs Olia Hercules, Alissa Timoshkina and Zuza Zak, a new drink-focused project has launched and will host events and encourage solidarity from the drinks industry across Europe.
Other initiatives taking place include a virtual whisky tasting run by whisky experts Billy Abbott and Felipe Schrieberg, the latter currently living in Poland, where thousands of refugees are taking shelter. Read on for more charitable projects being set up by the UK drinks industry, and for more information on how you can take part. We’ll continue to update this list with future initiatives as they happen.
Dima’s X The Gibson bottled cocktails
Ukrainian vodka brand Dima’s has launched a fundraising project to support British-Ukrainian Aid and Come Back Alive, a foundation supporting defence efforts in Ukraine. All of the money (not just the profits) from the purchase of four bottled cocktails (£50) will go towards the cause. The four cocktails have been created by London bartenders Marian Beke (The Gibson) and Tony Pescatori (Nightjar) and include a Dirty Fig Martini, Kyiv’s Coffee (a take on an Espresso Martini), a Pickled Gimlet and a sea buckthorn-flavoured take on the Cosmopolitan. The vodka brand is also hosting fundraising events in London bars Publiq (March 15), The Gibson (March 16) and Coupette (March 20).
Online Whisky Tasting co-hosted by Billy Abbott and Felipe Schrieberg
Award-winning whisky writer Felipe Schrieberg and Whisky Exchange Drinks Ambassador Billy Abbott will be hosting an online whisky tasting to raise funds to support Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland. The guided tasting will take place on March 28, with participants receiving six whiskies – including offerings from The Glenturret and The Lakes Distillery – delivered from whisky subscription service The Dram Team. Tickets are £45, with all profits being donated to Polish Humanitarian Action, a relief organisation working with displaced Ukrainian refugees.
Drinkers for Ukraine
Drinkers for Ukraine is a fundraising drive to support the International Red Cross humanitarian relief efforts, and is calling upon wineries, cider makers and breweries to craft a charitable beer known as ‘Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout’, which has been developed by displaced Ukrainian brewers. The initiative, launched on March 3, also plans to host events throughout March to further raise funds for The Red Cross. Stay tuned for more.
José Pizarro collection point
London-based tapas and sherry bar owner José Pizarro has turned two of his UK restaurants into collection points for emergency supplies and donations to support relief efforts. One of the restaurant’s regular guests has family in Ukraine and is feeding information about the most needed items directly to Pizarro and his team. The chef is urging local communities to donate items, with a list of the most needed donations published on the chef’s website.
Yurii Kovryzhenko at Carousel
As part of the #CookForUkraine initiative, Carousel in London is hosting a lunch cooked by Ukrainian chef, TV presenter and culinary ambassador Yurii Kovryzhenko. On Sunday March 13, the chef will present a Ukrainian sharing feast with dishes including borsch soup with duck and prunes. The experience also includes a Hrenovuha welcome drink, a Ukrainian vodka infused with horseradish and lemon. Tickets are £60 and all proceeds will go to World Central Kitchen, an organisation providing meals to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict as well as those remaining in the country.
Ognisko Polskie’s Zelenskyy cocktail
The team at the bar attached to South Kensington’s Polish club Ognisko Polskie has developed a new cocktail named after Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The cocktail is made from a mixture of Polish Kavka vodka, blue curaçao, lemon juice, apricot brandy and sugar syrup – making it blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag. With each order of the Zelenskyy cocktail, a donation will be made by the bar to Choose Love’s Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser, an organisation providing vital aid to Ukrainians affected by the invasion.
Limited-edition ‘Ukraine’ Piston vodka
Worcester-based Piston Distillery is pumping profits from a limited-edition release of its signature vodka into the cause, sending its funds to Unicef’s Ukraine appeal. While there’s no difference to the liquid – Piston’s signature vodka is distilled nine times and designed for sipping – the team have taken to packaging with paint in the colours of the Ukraine flag.
Ukraine Fundraising Raffle at Sterling Distillery
Prizes in Sterling Distillery’s fundraising raffle have been sourced from a host of renowned Scottish companies and venues – from Edinburgh Dungeon to Dunblane Golf Club – plus, there’s a gin experience up for grabs from the Sterling Distillery itself. Raffle tickets cost just £3, with all proceeds going to the British Red Cross DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, and the distillery is encouraging locals to join them in person for an evening of fundraising.
Friday March 11, 7pm. Stirlingdistillery.com
Wine Unites for Ukraine Auction
Wine authorities Tim Atkin MW, Sarah Abbott MW and Celia Bryan-Brown are joining forces to pull together an online auction on behalf of the UK wine industry. Wine Unites for Ukraine is currently calling on donations of drink-related lots for the cause, and items will be auctioned off across the weekend of Apr 1-3. More details to follow as soon as we hear further.
Apr 1-3, jumblebee.co.uk/wineunitesforukraine