UK finalists confirmed for Bacardi Legacy

BacardiWith less than a month to go until the UK final of the Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition, the line-up of finalists has been confirmed.

They came top in five regional finals held in London, Edinburgh, Bristol and Manchester and will face each other at the national final in London on February 7. An eighth bartender will join them from the regional final in Ireland on January 28*.

The finalists are:

  • Iain McPherson of Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
  • Michael Braun of Bibis Italianissimo, Leeds
  • Sam Kershaw of Babington House, Somerset
  • Nelson Bernardes of The Waldorf Hilton, London
  • Tom Walker of the American Bar at The Savoy, London
  • Alistair Reynolds of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, London
  • Francesco Turro-Turrini of The Luggage Room at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, London

Edinburgh’s regional final was dominated by drinks which used the lightness of wines and vermouths to complement Bacardi Superior’s signature dry style. However, it was the exotic Eastern-inspired recipe from Voodoo Rooms’ Iain McPherson that took the top spot.

Siam Saoco by Iain McPherson

50ml Bacardi Superior
50ml Roasted coconut water
4 leaves of Thai sweet basil
1 barspoon of light agave syrup
Small pinch of salt

Add all ingredients into a French shaker, add ice and shake. Double-strain into a coupette.

Michael Braun of Bibis Italianissimo in Leeds stole the crown at the Manchester final, with his professional flair and in-depth knowledge of the Bacardi story. His winning cocktail Fichi Selvaggi, elegantly combined this knowledge with a fantastic recipe inspired by the iconic Italian flavours of his workplace.

Fichi Selvaggi by Michael Braun

60ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Cloudy apple juice
5ml Maraschino mix
0.7ml Aged balsamico
2 barspoons of homemade fig compote

Add all ingredients into a cobbler shaker, stir to liven up the fig, add ice and shake hard. Double-strain over ice into a double old fashioned glass.

The Bristol heat was steeped in nostalgia as the competitors delved deep into their childhood and family memories to produce strong and stirred-down drinks. Legacy veteran Sam Kershaw of Babington House was triumphant with Favourite Frost, a crisp, clean and suitably glacial recipe honouring a favourite family pet as well as paying tribute to iconic cocktails including the Mary Pickford and the Daiquiri.

Favourite Frost by Sam Kershaw

50ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Pineapple-infused Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit
15ml Martini Bianco
15ml Fresh lime juice
2 Japanese barspoons of caster sugar
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters
Small egg white

Dry shake, shake with ice and strain into a “dainty” coupe. Add grapefruit zest and discard.

Representing some of London’s best bars, the sheer number and quality of the entrants meant that the judges took four bartenders through to the UK final. Nelson Bernardes of The Waldorf Hilton created a drink called The Perfect Host as homage to legendary bartending hosts such as Peter Dorelli.

Perfect Host by Nelson Bernardes

50ml Bacardi Superior
25ml Fresh lime juice
20ml Apple juice
17.5ml Gomme syrup
15ml Egg white

Muddle the celery in the bottom of the shaker. Add the rest of ingredients and dry shake. Shake again with ice. Double-strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with grounded black pepper.

In a similar ilk but with an American twist, Tom Walker of the Savoy’s American Bar created a fresh, clean and easy to replicate drink called Maid in Cuba.

Maid in Cuba by Tom Walker

2oz Bacardi Superior
1oz Lime juice
0.5oz Simple syrup
Small handful of mint
3 slices of cucumber

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, but don’t muddle. Add ice, shake, and double-strain into a large coupette rinsed with absinthe. Top with a splash of soda, garnish with a slice of cucumber and serve.

Ali Reynolds from Hawksmoor Spitalfields created a cocktail called Aurum, which is Latin for gold.

Aurum by Alistair Reynolds

40ml Bacardi Superior
20ml Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit
10ml Edmund Briottet Crème d’Abricot

Stirred and strained into a cocktail glass. Garnished with grapefruit zest and a star anise.

Francesco Turro-Turrini from The Luggage Room paid homage to the godfather of Tiki drinks, Don the Beachcomber, with a twist on a classic Mai Tai called Pretty in Pink.

Pretty in Pink by Francesco Turro-Turrini

60ml Bacardi Superior
15ml Martini Extra Dry
15ml Lime
10ml Orgeat syrup
3 drops of Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain it over a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fancy lemon peel and a luggage tag.

On February 7, the regional winners will face a panel of industry experts to gain three winning places. These three bartenders will receive a budget to carry out a 12-month promotional strategy to take their Bacardi Superior cocktail recipe to a new, global audience in a race to become the UK’s entry to the global final in February 2014. The winning cocktail will compete for a chance to become part of the legacy of original Bacardi cocktails.

The final will also see the announcement of the overall UK winner from the three bartenders who came top at last year’s competition. They are Daniel Bovey of Sahara in Reading, Chris Moore of The Savoy and Gordon Purnell of The Voodoo Rooms.

Liam Newton, marketing director at Bacardi, said: “Bacardi rum has undoubtedly had a historic role in the creation of some of the world’s most timeless cocktails and 150 years later, is still the best-selling white rum in the world.

“But the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition is not just about drinks – it’s about the people behind them too. Becoming part of the Bacardi Legacy is an amazing opportunity for bartenders to showcase their creativity in coming up with a modern-day classic cocktail.

“We are always excited to see the talent and inspiration demonstrated in the regional heats and this year was certainly no different. We can’t wait to see how the UK finalists take their unique creations to the next stage of the competition as they bring to life the marketing behind their signature drink.”

*Darren Costello of Brasserie on the Corner in Galway won the Ireland final at Harry’s on the Green in Dublin with his cocktail, Homage To Sitges, adding lime, almond and an infusion of chilli:

50ml Bacardi Superior
30ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
15ml Orgeat syrup
Sea salt
Caster sugar

Muddle the chilli and shake all the ingredients over ice and double-strain into a coupette. Garnish with a piece of red chilli.

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