Bacardi Legacy: Zdenek Kastanek wins with La Hermosa

La Hermosa
The great and the good of the bar industry came together for the final of the UK’s Bacardi Legacy competition last night. In the opulent, ornate surroundings of the historic Freemasons Hall in Covent Garden in London, the eight winners of a series of regional heats competed for three “most promising” places that will see them promote their cocktails to bars and the public over the next year in the run-up to next year’s final. At the same time, the ultimate winner from last year’s three “most promising” finalists was announced: Zdenek Kastanek from London bar and restaurant Quo Vadis with his cocktail La Hermosa.

Zdenek’s cocktail will now be up for joining Bacardi’s list of “legacy” cocktails such as the Cuba Libre and the Daquiri. He follows in the footsteps of past winners such as Ago Perrone with his Mulata Daisy and Matt Dakers with Angels’ Draft.

La Hermosa

60ml Bacardi Superior rum
25ml Lemon juice
20ml La Gitana manzanilla sherry
15ml Triple sec
15ml Orgeat
4 dashes Yellow Chartreuse

Put all ingredients into a highball, add crushed ice, then swizzle until diluted and chilled to perfection. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint.

Zdenek Kastanek
To explain the inspiration for his cocktail, Zdenek tells a little story. “Once upon a time there was a girl called Hermosa. Her mother was typically French: a bitter character on the surface, but really as sweet as honey. Her father was a Spanish sailor. He was rough like the ocean, but charismatic still and a good man. Hermosa lived a simple life in Cuba. Everybody loved her, the men for her beauty and big heart, and the women for her smile and optimism. Hermosa’s life was as sweet as an orange, until one day everything turned as sour as a lemon. Her family had to leave their home and move to Puerto Rico. However, the journey bound her family together. Hermosa grew up and met a charming and exotic man who smelled of almonds and oranges. The oranges reminded her of her happy life in Cuba and they fell in love.”

Zdenek and his Hermosa triumphed over the other two “most promising” bartenders, Metinee Kongsrivilai from The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh and Jody Monteith from Manchester drinks consultancy The Liquorists. To see their recipes, click here.

But most of last night’s event featured the eight finalists from five regional heats presenting their cocktails to an industry crowd and a stellar line-up of judges including top mixologists including Peter Dorelli as well as Audrey Saunders and Dale DeGroff over from the US. They named the three “most promising” bartenders as Gordon Purnell from the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, Dan Bovey from Sahara in Reading and Chris Moore from the Savoy in London.

El Momento Perfecto
Dan’s cocktail is El Momento Perfecto, which has its own website and Twitter profile

El Momento Perfecto

45ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Lillet Blanc
20ml Byrrh
10ml Campari
4 Dashes of orange bitters
1 spoon of Strong breakfast marmalade

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass and stir to dissolve the marmalade. Add cubed ice and stir until chilled. Julep-strain into an Old Fashioned glass over cubed ice and garnish with a lemon twist.

Gordon Purnell
Relative cocktail competition newcomer Gordon Purnell of the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh focused on the decadence of Bacardi’s heritage with the Silver Ghost cocktail.

Silver Ghost

37.5ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Lime juice
25ml Apple juice
12.5ml Velvet Falurnum
12.5ml Rock candy syrup
20ml Egg white
2 pods of cardamom
Garnish of lemon thyme sprigs

Shake all the ingredients hard with ice and strain into the glass.

Chris Moore was also inspired by the brand’s history with his Encantador cocktail, which is Spanish for delightful or charming as well as “snake charmer”.

Chris Moore

40ml Bacardi Superior
10ml Aperol
10ml Eau de Framboise
20ml Fresh lemon juice
10ml Vanilla syrup
5ml Miclo Framboise eau de vie

Shake hard with mostly cubed and a little crushed ice. Fine-strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with a lime twist.

Gordon, Dan and Chris will now be given a budget and six months to market their Bacardi cocktail in a three-way race to become the UK’s entry to the global final in February 2013. The winning cocktail will then compete against rival Bacardi recipes from other competitions around the world for a chance to become part of the legacy of Bacardi original cocktails.

For last week’s post listing all eight finalists and their cocktails, click here.

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