Bartenders score a trip to Tales of the Cocktail with Bacardi

bacardi softball

A group of bartenders from London are off to the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans next month after winning Bacardi’s annual softball game for the trade.

For the fourth year running, Bacardi brought the spirit of Cuba to the UK with its annual UK Bacardi Classics Softball Tournament at London Mets Baseball Club in north London.

Hosted by Bacardi brand ambassadors Shervene Shahbazkhani and Metinee Kongsrivilai, it saw eight teams, including bartenders from many of London’s top bars, competing for places on the trip to New Orleans.

It was won by the Central London team, captained by Olly Brading from The Cocktail Trading Co in Soho, with Dan Garnell of Happiness Forgets, Lewis Thompson of Milk & Honey and Tiarnan O’Gara of Mash London.

They beat the West London team, captained by Jake Burger of Portobello Star in Notting Hill, in the final game, winning by 25 runs to 22.

As the winners, Central London will play the winning US team at the World Series, which will be held on July 17 at softball fields near Mid City Yacht Club bar in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail.

Late Night Venues, captained by JJ Goodman of London Cocktail Club, emerged as strong contenders in the first round but were knocked out decisively in the semi-finals after the West London team impressed with 11 runs to Late Night’s four.

The second semi-final saw Central London hit the ball out of the park literally on numerous occasions, defeating the Foodies team – captained by Sarah MacKay of Gordon Ramsay Group and Rich Woods of Duck & Waffle – by 22 runs to eight.

The other teams were Private Members captained by Tom Kerr of Soho House Group, Hotels captained by Anna Sebastian of The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, East London captained by Russell Burgess of Loves Company, and a wildcard Media Team captained by Simon Webster of BarlifeUK.

Celebrating Bacardi’s heritage, the softball tournament harks back to the company’s sponsorship of Cuban baseball during the 1920s and 1930s.

In the same way that spectators then enjoyed the games with Bacardi rum and Hatuey beer, the organisers shipped in authentic Hatuey bottled beer from Miami while the Craft Cocktail Club team from east London provided pre-mixed cocktails. Cuban-style sandwiches and nachos were provided by Bacchus Sundays.

bacardi softball

Metinee Kongsrivilai, Bacardi’s UK brand ambassador, said: “Four years ago, we introduced the first Bacardi Classics Softball tournament to bring the UK’s bartenders together for a day of fun and, since then, the event has taken on a life of its own, really bringing people in our great industry together.

“Despite the lack of summer sunshine, there was no shortage of enthusiasm from all the teams, not to mention that all-important competitive spirit, and the support from the crowd was just incredible.

The Bacardi Classics Softball tournament is a great way to celebrate the people at the front line of our industry and rewarding the winners with a trip to Tales of the Cocktail shows just how much
Bacardi truly supports bartenders around the UK.

“Now it’s down to Central London to do the UK proud when they take on the US team next month. Good luck guys!”

bacardi softball

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