Under a circus big top in New Zealand, Team Italy was favored for a win, but tensions – and alcohol content – remained high.

Vodka brand 42 Below’s Cocktail World Championship involved a heated battle between teams representing London, Europe, Scotland, Austria, New Zealand and the U.S. While the championship’s carnival theme (which apparently involved some disturbingly tight lycra costumes) produced a lot of creativity from all the teams, Daniele Dalla Pola, Alexander Frezza and Luca Sai won by half a percentage point.

With Elisir d’amore the trio turned creative mixology from sideshow into feature performance. According to the judges, the team won not only because the created a perfectly balanced cocktail, but also because they “delivered it as only an Italian can, with pure flourish.”