Bacardi is fortunate to have a number of classic cocktails tightly tied to their rum. From the eponymous Bacardi Cocktail, Cuba Libre, Pina Colada, and Mojito, Bacardi has powered its way to becoming one of the top selling rums in the world and an essential spirit behind almost every bar. In an effort to discover the great next new Bacardi classic cocktail, Bacardi created the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition. This competition, now in its third year, brings together some of the best and brightest bartenders from around the world for a week of study and practice in Miami, FL and then fierce competition at the Bacardi Distillery for the Bacardi Legacy Grand Finale. From a group of 18 competitors, the field is whittled down to just 8 bartenders who compete in the Grand Finale.
For Bacardi Legacy, Bacardi assembled an amazing all-star judging team which included such luminaries as Salvatore Calabrese, Simon Difford, Joerg Meir, Nicolas Saint Jaen, and Bacardi Maestro de Ron Jose Sanchez Gavito. Each of the final 8 bartenders had 10 minutes to present their own Legacy Cocktail, a creation which not only could stand the test of time, but also reflects something personal from the bartender’s own life and history. Of the 8 competitors, three really stood out (note recipes are presented in their original ml measurement and adapted for US oz):
Chris Moore from the American Bar at the Savoy presented his cocktail, The Encantador, an inventive fusion of raspberry, aperol, rum, and egg white. The Encantador had the feel of a true classic and was meticulously crafted.
by Chris Moore, American Bar Savoy
1 1/4 oz (40 ml) Bacardi Superior Rum
1/4 oz (10 ml) Aperol
3/4 oz (20 ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz (15 ml) vanilla syrup
1/8 oz (5 ml) raspberry eau de vie
1/8 oz (5 ml) egg white
Place all the ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Double strain into a pre-chilled or frozen cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.
Another stand-out cocktail came from Nick Nistico from the Regents Cocktail Club in Miami. Nick’s Garden Gimlet is a savory cocktail which comes out of the culinary cocktail world (using fresh food items to create new drinks). The Garden Gimlet (which would probably be better simply named The Garden Cocktail ) uses such unique cocktail ingredients as caraway seeds and arugula.
The Garden Gimlet
by Nick Nistico, Regents Cocktail Club
1 3/4 oz (50ml) Bacardi Superior Rum
1 1/2 oz (45 ml) lemon syrup (1:1 simple and lemon juice)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tbsp red bell pepper puree
1 handful of fresh arugula
pinch Maldon Sea Salt
Place all the ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously. Double strain into a pre-chilled or frozen cocktail glass. Garnish with a touch of sea salt on a slice of bell pepper.
One of the most intriguing cocktails of the competition never actually got made: Sudam Biswal from India wasn’t able to get a visa to compete, but his cocktail, The Golden Era, looked like it could have been a real contender.
The Golden Era
by Sudam Biswal
1 1/2 oz (45 ml) Bacardi Superior Rum
1/4 oz (10 ml) Limoncello
4 slices of ginger
1/2 oz (15 ml) simple syrup
1/2 oz (15 ml) fresh squeezed lime juice
1 dash of egg white
Place all the ingredients into a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain in to a glass pre-filled with ice. Garnish with ginger slices.
While there were a number of cocktails at the competition that involved complex preparations, like Austria’s Mario Hofferer’s Cantineros Gentleman Daiquiri that involved smoking glasses with rosemary and garnishing with gold sugar pearls, and South Africa’s Nick Koumbarakis’ The Tourist that involved using a french press to prepare the drink, it was the straight forward and easy to prepare The Knight Cup from Russia’s Elizaveta Evdokimova that ultimately won the day.
The Knight Cup
Elizaveta Evdokimova, Delicatessen Bar, Moscow Russia
1 1/2 oz (45 ml) Bacardi Superior
3/4 oz (20 ml) Cynar
2 bar spoons (10 ml) pomegranate liqueur
1 bar spoon (5 ml) simple syrup
Place all ingredients into a pre-chilled or frozen mixing glass, add ice, and stir well. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with pomegranate fruit leather.
Russia’s win at the Bacardi Legacy Competition is emblematic of many recent global cocktail competitions where bartenders from regions not typically associated with the cocktail revival are taking the grand prizes and showing that, with the Internet and the incredible interchange of bartenders at events like Tales of The Cocktail and Bar Convent Berlin, the craft of bartending continues to grow and evolve globally.