Above: Anything Else by Lisa Molyavka, Belarus
In case you hadn’t heard, the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition Final is taking place in San Francisco this year. Don’t hold it against us but if we’re being honest, we really, really want either Santiago Michelis, Oliver Pluck or Iain Griffiths to win. What’s that you say? We shouldn’t have favourites? Oh come on, it’s only natural that we’re a teensy bit biased, they’re the Three Most Promising from the UK.
We’ll find out which one of them makes it through on 15th March. That’s the date when they, along with 15 other exceptionally talented bartenders from six territories in Northern Europe, will hear if all the hard work, passion and downright wizardry they’ve invested in their Legacy cocktail and promotional campaigns has been enough to secure them a coveted ticket to the big gig on Sunday 24th April.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of anxious participants waiting to hear the very same thing everywhere from Australia to Uruguay. In total, there are 36 countries taking part in the competition this year, that’s two up from 2015.
Until all of the finalists have been announced over the next couple of weeks, here’s a reminder of the Three Most Promising UK drinks and the rationale behind them, plus three Legacy cocktails from around the globe (just to prove we’re not completely UK-centric).
Here’s wishing all competitors the very best of British (oops, we mean, luck, obvs…)
Santiago Michelis, UK
My drink is called The Knot, and it is a fresh combination of the flavours of my childhood. The drink has fresh mandarin juice, honey, and Martini Bitter Aperitivo. It’s shaken and served straight up in a cocktail glass.
The Knot is based on the European diaspora and the sacrifice and adventurous spirit of all the people who populated Cuba, Argentina and the rest of Latin America in the past centuries, leaving everything behind. Facundo Bacardí’s is one of the most amazing and epic success stories of these people, and my family’s story is pretty similar and cool as well. These stories played a key part in my decision to leave corporate life and pursue my dream.
The Knot is a tribute to all of these stories.
Follow Santiago’s BACARDÍ Legacy story here
45ml BACARDÍ Carta Blanca
25ml fresh mandarin juice
5ml lemon juice
15ml honey syrup (1:1)
12.5ml Martini Bitter aperitivo
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice. Serve straight up.
Oliver Pluck, UK
Knowing about the Bacardí dynasty and the story around the family’s Cuban heritage, I was so excited when I heard that Raul Castro and President Obama were in talks for peace and lifting the embargo. With John Kerry flying to Cuba to raise the flag in the US embassy for the first time in 54 years I thought ‘this is what it has all been about!’.
I wanted to create a rum cocktail that could stand up next to an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. I couldn’t help but feel that BACARDÍ had the citrus side of drinks firmly in its pocket so I wanted to create a modern day classic with depth, warmth and complexity.
I called my drink ‘Amistat’ which means friendship in Spanish and this resembled what was happening in Cuba with America. Since Columbus first arrived on the island, people of Cuba have always fought for independence and I wanted my drink to tell the story. BACARDÍ Oro represents the company’s Cuban heritage with an Amontillado Sherry representing the Spanish rule. Woodford Reserve is a hat-tip to America with the friendship linked in to the Brown-Forman portfolio. Coffee liqueur represents the substantial coffee growth within the country now that sugar cane production has slipped considerably in the last 50 years. I use three dashes of Aztec Chocolate Bitters to add mocha tones to the cocktail, which balances out the drink beautifully. Finally, I lightly zest the drink with an orange in the shape of the five-point lone star from the Cuban and Puerto Rican flag symbolising both the revolution and BACARDÍ’s new home.
Follow Oliver’s BACARDÍ Legacy story here
37.5ml BACARDÍ Carta Oro
12.5ml Woodford Reserve
12.5ml Amontillado Sherry
10ml coffee Liqueur
3 dashes of spiced chocolate bitters
Stir ingredients with ice. Serve on the rocks and garnish with an orange twist.
Iain Griffiths, UK
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 so I decided to throw my name into the ring.
The Carta Switchel is 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.
Follow Iain’s BACARDÍ Legacy story here
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.
Bar Shira, Tel Aviv
In order to become popular I knew my Legacy cocktail needed to be really simple so bartenders would want to try, serve and recommend it. I also knew it needed to be a drink that could easily be prepared in pubs, cafes and clubs, not just craft cocktail bars. In addition, as a bar owner I appreciate that cost and availability are hugely important – if the drink calls for expensive or obscure ingredients I don’t have any incentive to put it on a menu.
Follow Bar’s BACARDÍ Legacy story here
45ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
30ml Martini Rosso
30ml lime juice
20ml simple syrup
Build ingredients in a Collins or Pilsner glass over ice. Stir and garnish with a lemon peel.
George Megalokonomos, Greece
I was inspired by the ancient city of Smyrna and its catastrophe in 1922. My cocktail is dedicated to the Greeks who left behind memories and their loved ones.
Follow George’s BACARDÍ Legacy story here
50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
10ml Skinos Mastiha Spirit
1 bar spoon grenadine
3 dashes Abbotts Bitters
Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a mint sprig or leaf.
Lisa Molyavka, Belarus
Legacy is not only what the dictionary says it is, as Enrique Comas mentioned last year ‘Something that is a part of your history or that remains from an earlier time’. Legacy especially Bacardi legacy is not only something tangible like a glass of a legendary drink or the cocktails which create the history right now, it’s that important something you cannot see, cannot hold in your arms, it’s something that remains behind the label that passed from fathers to sons carefully as a result of true passion and inspiration by an untamable spirit. The real ‘anything else’.
You cannot deny that the first things you pay attention to when entering the bar are the clever interior design, the shine of the bar-tools the perfection of customer service and how sophisticated the cocktails are which make the atmosphere welcoming and unique. But there is always this little ‘anything else’ that makes your stay so different and truly remarkable. This anything else is exactly what moves us, inspires us to create, believe in what we are doing, which is an integral part of ourselves.
Creating the Anything Elsecocktail I wanted to use the ingredient that weren’t used before but are somehow related to the Bacardi family. . So, as I mentioned, there is always this little Anything Else. In my case I discovered an amazing legend about Bacardi rum and Bacardi’s own beer – Hatuey. In the beginning of the 20th century when there were no ice-machines in Cuba and Bacardi had their own lakes in the North America where they took the cleanest crystal ice, every customer received an invaluable present: the ice block and six packs of Hatuey beer which was released back in 1914 in Santiago de Cuba – it was the bestselling Cuban beer. Thanks to those opportunities and talented sales pitch, people started to perceive Bacardi rum as a really prestigious, high-quality drink for the specific people who got used to receive the best.
There are a lot of speakeasies in the world and places where the wide variety of crafted beer is presented so I wanted to returm to the history, push the limits and propose a new view to the first Cuban rum coupled with IPA style beer.
Lisa has secured a place in the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition. Follow her BACARDÍ Legacy story here
50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
15ml honey syrup (3 honey: 1 water)
15ml lemon juice
30ml Brew Dog Punk IPA
Shake first four ingredients over ice, strain into an Old Fashioned glass on ice block. Top up with Brew Dog Punk IPA beer and garnish with grapefruit peel.
Want to get the lowdown on who’ll be putting them through their paces in San Francisco? Get your sunglasses on, it’s a dazzler of a list:
Judging the bartenders on their drink’s promotional campaign:
Jim Meehan from PDT in New York; Enrique Comas, sixth generation member of the Bacardi family and BACARDÍ Senior Manager Trade Advocacy for Latin America & Caribbean and Nadine Iacocca, Marketing Director, BACARDÍ rums.
Judging the semi-finals:
Martin Cate, rum expert and proprietor of tiki bar ‘Smuggler’s Cove’ in San Francisco; Tom Walker, 2014 BACARDÍ Legacy Global Champion; Ivy Mix, founder of ‘Speedrack,’ co-owner of ‘Leyenda’ in Brooklyn and 2015 American Bartender of the Year and Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and founder of UK Rumfest.
Judging the finals:
Dale DeGroff, industry legend and founder of the modern ‘cocktail revolution’; Julie Reiner, New York bar owner, celebrated mixologist and industry mentor; Jose Sanchez Gavito – Maestro de Ron BACARDÍ and Franck Dedieu, 2015 BACARDÍ Legacy Global Champion.
Follow all the action before, during and after the event on the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition Facebook page and on Twitter and Instagram