Iain Griffiths brings the concept of ‘Modern Botany’ to life at award-winning Dandelyan at the Mondrian London on the Southbank. He describes his bartending style as simplistic, “I enjoy doing the hard graft with drinks, having them prepped and ready, but when the doors open it’s about putting the customer first and getting the drinks out quickly and cleanly, so there’s plenty of time to chat and make sure they have a great time.”
Iain goes through to the BACARDÍ Legacy UK semi-finals with this cocktail Carta Switchel.
Iain, tell us when and why you decided you wanted to enter BACARDÍ Legacy this year?
Whilst researching a drink I stumbled across a recipe for a Switchel. Once I started playing around with my own version of it, I realised I had a great story and a pretty tasty drink and so decided to throw my name in the ring.
You don’t enter many competitions, what is it about this particular one that appealed?
The platform it provides. I’m really hoping to get to the Three Most Promising as I want to use that chance to do something really great for the younger bartenders in our industry on both a UK and global scale.
Have you followed the journeys of previous finalists (UK and/or global) and if so, who has stood out most for you and why?
Not massively to be honest, but what I did see always showed they were enjoying themselves and seeing a lot of return for their hard work.
Why is BACARDÍ Legacy such an important competition for you personally?
It’s a chance to put a lot of what we do night after night into practise with a much greater reach; the importance in turn comes from that reach.
Please describe your cocktail and the inspiration behind it.
It’s a long, fresh Highball with a little kick of vinegar at the back. It’s inspired by a recipe from the 17th century that sugarcane farmers used to drink for sustenance.
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?
Apple vinegar. It provides acidity, bitterness and depth to make the Carta Switchel a really interesting take on a more classic style serve.
You can choose from BACARDÍ Carta Blanca or BACARDÍ Carta Ora as the base for your cocktail, which did you go for and why?
Carta Oro as the time spent resting in American white oak really lends itself to the drink and brings more complexity.
Why do you believe your drink has the potential to be the next BACARDÍ Legacy cocktail?
It has both industry and consumer appeal, is easily replicable and has a story behind it that warrants being told.
Who would you most like to see drinking it?
Probably the customers at Bramble in Edinburgh. I owe a lot to that bar and the team I got the chance to work alongside. My time there was really great for me and shaped a lot of who I am as a bartender today. The judges at the global final next year in San Fran would be a good start as well 😉
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during the competition?
“Don’t suck” – I have some really profound friends!
What would winning BACARDÍ Legacy mean to you?
It would be a massive acknowledgment from my peers and mentors in this industry for a lot of work and dedication, and that alone is every reason to give this my all.
25ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca
25ml BACARDÍ Carta Oro
25ml fresh grapefruit juice
12.5ml sugar syrup
4 dashes apple vinegar
4 dashes Fernet Branca
Build in a highball. Swizzle with crushed ice and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
The BACARDÍ Legacy UK Final takes place on 10th November. Keep up to date at #BacardiLegacyUK.