Andrew Dickey from the Merchant Hotel goes through to the BACARDÍ Legacy UK semi-finals representing Belfast with his cocktail ‘Family Secret’, an intriguing mix of garlic, orange bitters, velvet falernum and of course BACARDÍ rum. How does he describe his bartending style? “I’m not as articulate as the Japanese style of bartending, but I think my style would look out of place in the ‘Rovers Return’… Let’s go for…. elegant, maybe?” We’ll go with that…
So Andrew, when and why did you decide you wanted to enter BACARDÍ Legacy this year?
I don’t like to enter competitions half-heartedly – I’ve only ever entered two previously. I usually wake up in the early hours of the morning with an idea or concept, and then have to research it and see if it can work. This happened about two weeks before the deadline for the regional heats. Luckily for my BACARDÍ Legacy entry, it seemed to go together like a jigsaw; everything tied together nicely.
What is it about this particular competition that appeals?
It’s you and your cocktail. Nothing else stands in the way. BACARDÍ Legacy gives you all the power to make your own legacy and it’s down to the individual to make it happen.
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 did follow Benji Davis (Golden Age) last year and of course, friend and former work colleague Michael Brown (The True Caney) who won last year’s Belfast Regional heat. On the global stage, I kept up-to- date with reports from the final in Australia but the story of Karim Mehdi (Ireland) and his drink (Garrigue) was sensational. Battling for six years to get to a BACARDÍ Legacy final and in doing so received a standing ovation (and some tears) from the audience in the semi-finals.
In your mind, why is BACARDÍ Legacy such an important competition?
It’s simple to say make a drink, but when that drink has six ingredients and has to be replicated anywhere in the world it’s a slightly more daunting task. You have to be passionate about the drink and make it mean something that other people can relate too. A big emphasis is also marketing the cocktail which is unlike any other competition, getting world-wide recognition for something you created behind your safe place (bar) it’s a scary but exciting thought.
Please describe your cocktail and the inspiration behind it.
My cocktail takes the flavour profile of a ‘mojo’ or mojito’ (not the cocktail) it is a Cuban cuisine used as a marinade or dipping sauce and originates from Spain, but like Don Facundo Bacardí Masso made its way across to the Caribbean. It consists of three main elements: sour (bitter orange), olive oil and garlic along with different herbs and spices. Each family has their own special recipe for a mojo, as did Bacardí for their rum. What makes my family’s mojo, roast dinner or chicken curry better than yours may be down to a simple ingredient or method, thus the meaning behind my drink, ‘The Family Secret’.
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?
I think garlic is a head turner!
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’m using Bénédictine and velvet falernum in my drink – both are quite high in viscosity and very sweet, so I chose to go with BACARDÍ Carta Blanca as it’s drier on the palate.
Why do you believe your drink has the potential to be the next BACARDÍ Legacy cocktail?
I take every step as it comes and don’t think too far ahead, whether my drink is worthy of a legacy is down to the judges on November 10th, and if successful then it’s back to me to get the industry talking about it.
Who would you most like to see drinking it?
I’ll go with Pixie Lott – I still have a crush on her.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during the competition?
I was sitting in the American Bar at The Savoy with the other finalists and Brand Ambassadors and Erik Lorincz came over and said to us all “make sure you enjoy talking about your story, because if you’re successful you’ll be talking about it for the rest of your life” – that kind of sums up how big BACARDÍ Legacy really is.
What would winning BACARDÍ Legacy mean to you?
It would change my life. I’m still relatively new to the industry so every day I’m learning, but in the words of a BACARDÍ lover, Ernest Hemingway: “We are all apprentices in a craft, where no one ever becomes a master” – this quote helps me a lot when I feel like I’m punching above my weight.
The Family Secret
50ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca
10ml velvet falernum
2 dashes orange bitters
Half a clove of garlic
Stir ingredients with ice. Served straight up and garnish with an orange twist and mint leaf.
The BACARDÍ Legacy UK Final takes place on 10th November. Keep up to date at #BacardiLegacyUK.