The line-up of bartenders has been announced for the UK final of this year’s Bacardi Legacy competition after regional heats across the country.
The eight finalists are:
- Ally Martin from Peg + Patriot in east London
- Roman Foltan from the Artesian at London’s Langham Hotel
- Michael Braun from Panda & Sons in Edinburgh
- Ben Davies from The Suburbs Bar in Chester
- Michael Brown from Albany Bar in Belfast
- Robert Wood from The Edgbaston in Birmingham
- Luca Missaglia from Quo Vadis in Soho, London
- Matt Fairhurst from City Social in the City of London
Luca and Matt are wildcard entries while the rest won regional heats in Edinburgh, Manchester, Belfast, Bristol and London.
The eight will compete against each other in the national final on September 25 at a location still to be revealed. The three “most promising” bartenders will be selected to spend the next six months promoting their serve until the overall UK winner is announced in March.
Each bartender was challenged to create a cocktail that had the ability to stand the test of time and would be worthy of representing the UK in the May 2015 global final. In May this year, the 2014 global winner was the UK’s Tom Walker from the American Bar at The Savoy in London.
For the first time in the competition, contestants were this year able to create a legacy drink serve with either Bacardi Gold Rum or Bacardi Superior Rum.
Shervene said: “We’re always really excited to see the high calibre of cocktail making and inspiration demonstrated in the regional heats and we can’t wait to see these eight finalists get on stage in front of their peers and battle it out to have their drink crowned as one of the three most promising.
“With the fantastic success the UK had last year with The Maid in Cuba by Tom Walker from the American Bar at The Savoy, we’re eager to see which cocktail and bartender will have the honour of representing the UK at the global final in May.”
The regional heats saw 70 bartenders make drinks in front of a panel of judges led by Bacardi UK brand ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani and Jane Ryan, editor of Difford’s Guide. Other guest judges included bartender Sam Kershaw, who reached the final three in last year’s UK competition, Aaron Jones, formerly of the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy and now with Bacardi’s training team, bartender Gordon Purnell of The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, and Adolfo Comas, a descendant of the Bacardi family.
Shervene added: “Bacardi rum has been linked to some infamous cocktails over the years, such as the Mojito and the Daiquiri, being at the forefront of cocktail culture. The Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition not only searches for the next legacy drink but also recognises the talent of the individual cocktail creator, giving bartenders nationwide the opportunity to build their very own legacy, creating a cocktail that will be recognised globally and stand the test of time.”
Update (September 5, 2014): Bacardi has announced that the global final in May 2015 will be held in Sydney – the first time the grand final has been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
The finalists will enjoy two days of training, development and “camaraderie” with Bacardi brand ambassadors and key industry experts in Sydney, before presenting their drink in the competition. A panel representing some of the most influential experts of the international bartending and spirits community will judge the final.
Bacardi global brand director Caroline Hipperson said: “We are very excited to be bringing the Bacardi Legacy to Sydney next year. It is a perfect opportunity to celebrate and showcase a growing and influential Australasian bar culture, within a city famous for its iconic backdrops and spectacular nature. The effusive spirit and hospitality of this global city will provide the perfect inspiration and competitive arena for our extraordinary bartenders to shine.”
Pictured: the Bacardi Legacy global trophy