Ryan Snedden currently works in Tonic Bar in Edinburgh. “It’s very much a regulars bar, we serve a lot of sweet cocktails and also have a tuck shop menu on which we have created cocktails using nostalgic sweets from our past.” He describes his bartending style as pretty modern, “I’m all about having fun behind the bar and making sure every single second I’m behind the stick is spent focusing on making the customer smile – from dancing around to just engaging in conversation. When it comes to creating cocktails either for a competition or on a day-to-day basis, I always have to have a story behind my creation. I’d say I’m very clean, sometimes too clean, behind the bar also.”
Ryan goes through to the BACARDÍ Legacy UK semi-finals representing Scotland with his cocktail Father and Son.
So Ryan, when and why did you decide you wanted to enter BACARDÍ Legacy this year?
I decided to enter BACARDÍ Legacy after watching last year’s final. The story’s behind the drinks and the effort people put into their creations really inspired me to get to that level in my career.
What is it about this particular competition that resonates to you?
For me it was the fact that you’re not only creating a cocktail, you’re creating a ‘Legacy’, something people will remember you for; it’s a chance to not only make the bar you work for proud, but to make your parents proud, and your fellow bartenders proud by showcasing not only your bartending skills but your passion. On top of all that the support BACARDÍ gives to every competitor is unbelievable. From the trips you win to the help you get throughout the Three Most Promising campaign is something that no other brand offers.
Have you followed the journeys of previous finalists (UK and/or global) and if so, who has stood out most for you and why?
Yes, I’ve followed it a lot – last year in particular and for me what Ally Martin managed to do with his campaign was absolutely mind-blowing, he took it to the next level in a way nobody ever has before. His marketing campaign was followed globally and a massive part of his campaign inspired me to enter this year.
In your mind, why is BACARDÍ Legacy such an important competition?
It’s massive in terms of the bartending industry, it promotes people, city and bars on a global scale – something no other cocktail comp really offers quite in the same way with the massive amount of backing and support.
Please describe your cocktail and the inspiration behind it.
My cocktail is very simple, blending citrus with pineapple juice and coconut syrup and the addition of Peychauds bitters to combine all other ingredients beautifully. I also add an Islay whisky rinse which gives the drink an extra level of flavour and depth. It’s inspired by the relationship I have with my father, how we’re more like best friends than father and son but how it works incredibly well and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’re only 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 the ingredient that makes my cocktail stand out the Islay whisky rinse, it just pairs beautifully well with the rest of my ingredients and never over powers anything, it just merely complements every other ingredient in a way I never expected it to in the trial period of creating ‘Father and Son’.
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 used the BACARDÍ Carta Blanca because just like my father is the backbone to my career and life, the Blanca is the backbone to the BACARDÍ legacy, it’s stood the test of time like the relationship with me and my father and just fits with the inspiration of my creation beautifully.
Why do you believe your drink has the potential to be the next BACARDÍ Legacy cocktail?
It’s something completely different, I don’t think many people have combined the ingredients I’ve used in such a way before and the ideas for my marketing plan, along with my inspiration I feel it’s something not only bartenders but consumers would be really keen to get behind.
Who would you most like to see drinking it?
If I had to pick one person it would have to be my father, as much as the creation is based on him he hasn’t actually tasted it and I won’t be allowing him to unless I go through to become one of the Three Most Promising.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during the competition?
The best piece of advice I’ve received has to be from a good friend and fellow bartender Simon Toohey. I went to him before the Scottish heat to look over my chat and he told me I could do better and ‘always remember, everything you do in this competition has to come from the heart, it has to be personal and you have to mean every word’ And that’s something I’ll always remember in every comp I do from this day on.
What would winning BACARDÍ Legacy mean to you?
It would be absolutely mind blowing. I’m overwhelmed to reach this stage and I’m taking every day as it comes but to get that far would be life changing. It’s not only something that would change my career, but it would change my life.
Father and Son
50ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca
10ml coconut syrup
20ml fresh pineapple juice
20ml lemon juice
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Peated whisky rinse
Rinse glass with whisky, shake ingredient with ice. Serve straight up and garnish with pineapple leaf.
The BACARDÍ legacy UK Finals take place on 10th November in London. Keep up to date at #BacardiLegacyUK