Iain Griffiths from Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel in London has won a place to represent the UK at the global final of the Bacardí Legacy competition in San Francisco.
He was declared UK winner last night after impressing judges not only with his drink, the Carta Switchel, but with his four-month promotional campaign to generate support for the cocktail.
In November, he was chosen along with two other bartenders, Oliver Pluck from The East Village in Leeds and Santiago Michelis from Happiness Forgets in London, as the “most promising” out of eight UK finalists to go through to the final stage.
Iain’s promotional activities included running The Switchel Academy – a series of training events designed for the junior ranks of the bar industry.
The Carta Switchel was featured on the in-room printed material in the Mondrian hotel as the recommended cocktail in February and was served as the welcome drink at Elements 2016 – an event organised by Hot Dinners and Selfridges. Iain also secured national media coverage during his campaign including a cocktail tutorial video on how to make a Carta Switchel on Metro.co.uk.
The final element of his campaign saw him undertake guest shifts at bars across the country, taking his drink to a wider audience as well as securing menu listings at bars nationwide.
He will now compete against other national winners from around the world at the global final of the Bacardí Legacy Cocktail Competition in San Francisco from April 20 to 25.
Thanking everyone who supported him, Iain said: “It was amazing how many people offered to help me so selflessly and give time and effort to the Carta Switchel. The UK has been the heart of the international cocktail scene for a while now, so having the daunting task of representing the UK next month is going to be a challenge, but I’m going to give it my all.”
Bacardí UK brand ambassador Metinee Kongsrivilai added: “Iain’s campaign represents everything we are looking for in a Bacardí Legacy winner so we’re thrilled to have him representing the UK in San Francisco at the global final. He delivered an exceptional promotional campaign and the passion and determination he demonstrated gained him a lot of support and respect.
“It’s been a really hard job to judge the UK competition this year as the standard has been incredibly high from all competitors. Both Oliver and Santiago deserve real credit for their fantastic campaigns, making new stories to the Bacardí rums that have been part of cocktail culture for decades.
“From everyone at Bacardí, huge thanks to everyone who entered in the UK and we wish Iain and the rest of the finalists the best of luck in the final.”
Iain’s achievement was announced at an event at The Gilbert Scott restaurant and bar in London along with seven other national winners from across Northern Europe.
Hosting the event, Bacardí’s Northern European brand ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani praised all the bartenders who reached the “most promising” stage of the competition, saying Bacardi wanted to “really celebrate each of the finalists and the hard work they have put in”.
Now in its sixth year, the Bacardí Legacy Cocktail Competition has established itself as one of the most rigorous and admired bartender competitions in the world. The competition celebrates the creativity within today’s bar scene and aims to find a Bacardí cocktail that can stand the test of time alongside classics such as the Daiquiri and the Mojito.
Carta Switchel by Iain Griffiths
25ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
25ml Bacardi Carta Oro
25ml Fresh grapefruit
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.
Updated March 17, 2016 with Iain’s revised version of the Carta Switchel recipe