Tom Walker from The American Bar at The Savoy in London has been declared winner of this year’s global Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition in Russia.
After gaining a place to represent the UK in this week’s semi-finals in Moscow, he made it through to the grand final – beating 26 other bartenders from around the world.
He won with his drink Maid in Cuba, which was inspired by the American “maid” style of drink and is made with Bacardi Superior rum, fresh mint and cucumber plus sweet and sour mix, topped with soda and an absinthe spritz.
Bacardi will work with Tom over the next year to gain worldwide recognition for his drink, providing a platform from which he will serve Maid in Cuba at some of the finest bars in the world.
Founded in 2008, Bacardi Legacy challenges bartenders from around the world to develop a new cocktail that is worthy of joining the legacy of classic Bacardi cocktails such as a Daiquiri, Mojito and Cuba Libre.
Bacardi global ambassador David Cordoba said: “The Maid in Cuba embodies what we look for in a legacy cocktail. It achieves the perfect mix of the perfect ingredients, offering a balance and flavour and simplicity that I believe will endure and make it a classic of the future.
“The competition this year has been the highest standard ever and we have been blown away by the talent of the bartenders and the quality of their cocktails. It was incredibly close, but Tom is a worthy winner.”
Tom, who was born on Teesside and started his career at Popolo in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “It’s actually quite overwhelming to win this competition, because I have been working towards it for such a long time.
“This week with Bacardi has been phenomenal. It has been a privilege to compete with such talent. Winning Bacardi Legacy gives me an unbelievable opportunity to place my original cocktail on a global stage and develop my bartending career.”
He was one of 27 bartenders from around the world who took part in a week-long schedule of events, rubbing shoulders with some of the legends of the bartending world.
Bacardi hosted the finalists at a range of educational workshops tailored to hone their skills, before they presented their own original interpretation of a modern Bacardi Legacy cocktail in the competition.
This year, for the first time ever, the judges were so impressed by the standard of cocktails and presentations that they announced two runners-up: Australian Fred Siggins with Empire of Dreams and Carson Xie from China with Original Connection.
Some of the most influential names in the international bartending and spirits community judged the final: Bacardi’s maestro de ron José Sanchez Gavito; bartender Joerg Meyer, owner of the renowned Le Lion in Hamburg; Elizaveta Evdokimova, the 2013 global winner of Bacardi Legacy, and global rum ambassador Ian Burrell.
Commenting on the winning cocktail, Ian said: “The quality of drinks tonight has been second to none, but we are very happy to name the Maid in Cuba as the winner. This is a cocktail that exemplifies the term ‘classic’ – it has a very light and refreshing appeal that fits perfectly into the Bacardi Legacy cocktail stable.
“Tom has created a drink that uses a simple method, allowing you to taste the original ingredients, and that could be made anywhere in the world. For me, that is a classic cocktail.”
60ml Bacardi Superior rum
6 leaves of mint
3 slices of cucumber
45ml Sweet and sour mix (15ml sugar, 30ml fresh lime, infused for half a day)
Add sweet and sour mix to a cocktail shaker, along with the mint and cucumber. Bruise gently, and then add the Bacardi Superior. Add ice, shake rapidly and double-strain into an absinthe-rinsed coupette. Top with soda and garnish with a slice of cucumber and serve.
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