Say hello (or a cheeky cockney ‘wotcha’) to Robb Collins from the London Cocktail Club, Goodge Street – he’s the first of four bartenders from London going through to this year’s BACARDÍ Legacy UK final on 10th November with his drink Mariposa.
“Throughout my career I’ve had the pleasure to work in different styles of bars, so I’ve taken bits and pieces (mental items not actual items!) and made them my own,” he says when asked to describe his bartending style. “This has allowed me to give each customer a bespoke approach based on what I know they will enjoy. Bottomline: I like to keep things relaxed and have fun with the customers, but when its hammer time, like Maverick says ‘I can hold my own’.” We hope so Robb…
Tell us when and why you decided to enter BACARDÍ Legacy this year?
I did the competition last year and left myself little time to prepare; no surprises I didn’t make it through. Not long after last year’s London heat I was already thinking about ideas and possible flavour combinations. I love what BACARDÍ Legacy stand for: simple drinks that are easily replicated. These days I feel the base spirit can get lost in the sheer complexity of many modern cocktails.
What is it about this particular competition that appeals?
For me its all about the brand, the company produces some great rums and they do so much with the bartending community.
Have you followed the journeys of previous finalists (UK and/or global) and if so, who has stood out most for you and why?
I have yes, Chris Moore’s journey back in 2013 stood out a lot. He had a great drink and bought a lot of energy to his campaign, plus who doesn’t love his embroidered suit jacket!?
Why is BACARDÍ Legacy such an important competition to you?
It focuses on the fundamental aspects of being a great bartender – the ability to perform/entertain and create well-balanced simple drinks.
Please describe your cocktail and the inspiration behind it.
I believe the element of surprise is crucial in a cocktail competition, so without giving away too much, it’s a cocktail with BACARDÍ in it!
You’re permitted to use six ingredients in your cocktail, what’s the one ingredient (apart from BACARDÍ) that brings the x-factor to your drink?
See above. Just kidding – the cherry tomato!
You can choose from BACARDÍ Carta Blanca or BACARDÍ Carta Ora as the base for your cocktail, which did you go for and why?
I chose the Carta Blanca for its light, floral notes which work really with the other ingredients in my cocktail. It’s also my favourite out of the two.
Why do you believe your drink has the potential to be the next BACARDÍ Legacy cocktail?
Everything about it really. The name is simple, has meaning and rolls off the tongue well. It also makes use of ingredients all bars have but don’t use so it’s easily replicated. And finally, it’s perfectly balanced and has many beautiful layers – it actually gets better as you drink it. It’s actually making me want one just talking about it!
Who would you most like to see drinking it?
Anyone and everyone all around the globe would be my first answer. But I would settle for world surfing champion Kelly Slater sipping on my cocktail
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during the competition?
Chris Moore said in a BACARDÍ workshop months ago, just be yourself.
What would winning BACARDÍ Legacy mean to you?
Well, I would be lying if I said I don’t think about this day and night. BACARDÍ Legacy is considered one of (if not) the top bartending competition in the world, and given the calibre of previous winners, it would be a huge honour number one! I know my ma and pa would be deeply proud of me also, and there’s no better feeling than that.
50ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca
25ml St. Germain
25ml lemon juice
5ml sugar syrup (2:1)
3 leaves of fresh basil
1 cherry tomato
Muddle a cherry tomato, and add remaining ingredients. Shake with ice. Serve straight up and garnish with a cherry tomato and basil leaf.
The BACARDÍ Legacy UK Final takes place on 10th November. Keep up to date at #BacardiLegacyUK.
Our next semi-finalist will be featured on Monday 2nd November.