Marseglia’s masterclass in sustainability leads to global finals

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Drinks, News, Sustainability

Heard of Andrea Marseglia? Of course you have. He’s one of the leading voices for sustainability in New Zealand and globally. He is the master and the masterclass, when you lean into his content and messages. He has been since he first started encouraging and sharing his knowledge of foraging and community-based sustainability.

Andrea’s energy is electric, his passion razor-sharp and his attitude clear. He’s consistent and therefore his credibility to lead the New Zealand charge for Flor de Cana’s 3rd Global Sustainable Cocktail Challenge echoes right through his ANZ regional final win and all the way to Granada, Nicaragua.

Foraging, reusing and minimising waste while maximising flavour and creativity are hallmarks of Andrea’s style and influence at Teresa in Napier, taking Teresa to the top of Cuisine’s lists in 2023. His desire to amplify the message and educate in the delivery of truly sustainable drink-making and bar service is evident through his commitment to competing and nurturing a community that thrives in the approach.

Andrea’s original winning entry

@flordecanarum 12YO
Cocoa husk liqueur
Syrah verjuice
Dandelion & Mallow root caramel
Served in a bespoke local beeswax cup by @hohepahawkesbay

Sustainability is a very vast world, if not a lifestyle. We believe that sustainability starts with CHANGE. Whether that’s by changing your habits, recycling & cutting more waste but it also goes far beyond that.

It’s also looking after people that work within our organisation, and in our community. It’s educating our customers and community about seasonality and what the term ‘slow drinks’ means. Why it’s important and why it exists.

ADAPTing to a new community, where each other’s waste is utilized to create something unique. I believe is the most sustainable way of sourcing ingredients is foraging. This helps us source locally, LEARN more about where we live, create connections with the community & cut rising produce costs.



Perhaps a Sustainable Cocktail Challenge is the only place where second place is just as significant and important as first — because every step forward in this space is important when it comes to the authenticity and momentum of a cause bigger than a brand campaign.

Am I a raving fan? Absolutely. A good critic helps form positive construction within the product, industry or segment. So it’s crucial to celebrate how important Andrea’s contribution is not just here in New Zealand, but globally.

So here’s the upshot – just over a week ago, we cheered and watched as Andrea rose through the global pack of finalists to compete in the final three. He and partner Sarah Mitchell travelled together for over 60 hours, leaving behind their wee man while chasing the dream and offsetting every drop of carbon it took to get there.

Credibility, from the beginning to the very end. Money where the mouth is, bigger than the brand campaign — which is exactly what Flor de Cana are trying to achieve in this mission to dominate the sustainability space at a global scale.

In Andrea’s words:
”You understand that when the brief says that it’s a lifetime experience you believe it. It was such a cool experience be able to hang out with 32 of the most sustainable bartenders in the world, sharing ideas, concepts and hospitality. Spending time as a community rather than competitors made the competition way healthier but also we bonded with many other amazing bartenders with the promise to meet up again.

Seeing also what Flor de Cana does for its community is something else. Building a school & a hospital for their employees & being a single estate rum — it’s not easy, but they try to look for a brighter & greener future ahead, giving back to their community safety, education & free accommodations. We had the chance to discover what Flor de Cana is really about and also blend our own rum!”

Over 30 countries participated in the Sustainable Cocktail Challenge, which is a celebration of Flor de Caña’s historic commitment to sustainability and its way of sharing and promoting these values with the global bartending community. In addition to being the world’s first Carbon Neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit, its rum is distilled using 100% renewable energy, all CO2 emissions during fermentation are captured and recycled and the brand has planted one million trees since 2005.

Credibility, through and through.
And this is a theme that will continue to dominate how brands position themselves in each corner of the globe as the bartending community and consumers all lean into what a sustainable future needs to look like.

One could argue – sustainable is not enough.
Regenerative drinking is on the way.
But that’s a story for another day.

The grand final played out on February 3rd in a spectacular and exotic natural backdrop of Granada’s tropical volcanic islands. The judging panel was composed of renowned personalities such as Danil Nevsky (I consider him one of the most influential modern voices in the industry and Bar 100 agrees); Alex Francis, distinguished bartender and bar consultant; and Mandy Naglich, well-known food and beverage journalist. They evaluated the history and inspiration behind the cocktail, the use of sustainable ingredients/techniques and the level of creativity, in addition to its flavour and appearance.

As we watched live, Julie Nguyen from Opium Bar in Thailand was crowned World Champion, a margin of just one point between Julie and Andrea after an arduous mystery box challenge and overnight prep.

But it still represents a hundred points forward for the industry and for Asia-Pacific to hold such domination in the competition embedding sustainable drinks from production to business and community.

“Well, arriving second by a point globally is sometimes bittersweet, but with the incredible time we had in Nicaragua, is definitely a very sweet end. It was 2 full days of competition & judging for the judges (poor them) about 9 hrs a day, tasting.

After announcing top 3, at around 10pm, we were exposed to the market challenge, a mystery box. Here we had basically until 7am to come up with a new drink, new speech and prep all our ingredients, because at 11am we were going to the Isletas, the islands where the final was held.

So a very challenging 8 hrs to come up with a total different concept. We made a cocktail called Mi Tierra (my land) — an homage to FDC and the most fertile land in Nicaragua. We used all very low impact ingredients & with the leftovers cooked and transformed into a fertiliser to be applied on plants in the Isletas.

The mystery drink was a twist on a Mai Tai using FDC12yo – green mandarin & cocoa bean dry curaçao – star fruit juice (rather then lime) – whey, sapote seed & jicara flour orgeat – garnished with a crisp made out of Jicara flour and topped with a ricotta (split by star fruit juice) with local spice and dusted with cocoa bean.

This year NZ will be entering the competition again, and we will need as many entries as possible to keep this incredible competition happening in NZ.

Republished with permission from More Good Drinks 

About the Author

Tash McGill

Tash McGill works as a strategy consultant in tourism, hospitality and digital transformation. She is co-founder of The Feed, President of Food Writers NZ, Chair of the New Zealand Whisky Association.

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