Bacardi Legacy is one of the most important global cocktail competitions in the mixology world; with hundreds of competitors shaking it out to be crowned the Bacardi Legacy Champion. Brave bartenders enter their cocktail creation to be judged by some of the finest pallets in the region before the competition is stirred down to just a few finalists from each country. This year’s global grand final is set to be held in Mexico.
I had the luck of meeting the six UK finalists – many of whom have entered the competition in previous years. Each finalist has created their own unique cocktail in the hope that it will one day become a classic rum cocktail such as the Mojito or the Daiquiri. All contestants had the choice of three Bacardi rums: Bacardi Carta Blanca, Bacardi Carta Oro and Bacardi Ocho Años – each rum bringing a different look, taste and feel to the cocktail. Of the six finalists’ cocktails, three chose to use Bacardi Carta Blanca and three used Bacardi Ocho Años.
Bacardi Carta Blanca is the original “light white” or clear rum, aged for around 15 months. This classic was one of the first palatable rums on the market, made by Don Facundo Bacardi Massō in 1862. The dry, yet slightly sweet flavour of this rum, in conjunction with the clear colour means it can be a good base for a vast range of cocktails – from light and fresh to deep and sweet.
Bacardi Ocho Años is a dark, golden rum aged for eight years and this is where the name comes from. This rum was first released to the public in 1996 after the success of a limited edition release in 1995 – the first collector’s bottle going for a swift $400.
This mature sipping rum is smooth to taste and lends deep warmth when drunk straight or in a cocktail. The intense woody flavour goes well when mixed with chocolates and sweet fruits.
Let’s take a look at the cocktail creations from the 6 UK finalists.
Dominic Whisson of The American Bar, The Savoy Hotel (London) presented, Cornerstone
My personal favourite, Cornerstone contains 50ml Bacardi Ocho Años, 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice, 15ml Britten creme de peche, 15ml honey water (3 parts honey: 1 part water), 1/8 ripe avocado and grated nutmeg. Cut the avocado, shake all ingredients and strain to serve. Grate nutmeg on top.
Whisson’s cocktail takes flavour inspiration from regions dear to his family and Don Facundo alike. Cornerstone is more than just a cocktail, it tells a story of its own. The avocado gives this cocktail a thicker than average texture, building on the creme de peche. The freshness of the lime is contrasted well with the sweetness of peach and honey, and deep warmth of the Ocho Años rum. Cornerstone is a great drinking cocktail and is easy to make – I believe this one could stand the test of time.
Leon Back of Panda & Sons (Edinburgh) presented, Queen Street
Named after the famous Edinburgh bar street, Queen Street contains 50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca, 25ml Fresh lemon juice, 20ml Martini Ambrato, 20ml 1:1 sugar syrup, 3 dashes of celery bitters and a spritz of Islay Whisky. Shake with ice and double strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Spritz the side of the glass and top off the drink with the Islay Whisky.
In terms of drinking experiences, Queen Street was by far my favorite. The contrast between the scent of Whisky and the tart, fresh flavour of this cocktail was truly mind-blowing. Queen Street is one of the easiest cocktails to replicate in this years UK final 6 and I think will probably turn the most heads. The idea that something can be so simple and quick to make, yet can have such a lasting impact is truly a great foundation for a soon-to-be classic cocktail.
Will Meredith of Dandelyan (London) presented, The Ripple
Inside The Ripple you’ll find 50ml Bacardi Ocho Años, 25ml freshly squeezed sour green apple juice, 10ml apple cider vinegar, 12.5ml orgeat syrup, 5ml chickpea water and cacao. Shake all ingredients and serve up in a Nick & Nora glass. Grate cacao on top.
This deliciously warm cocktail has a Nostalgic feel to it – the thickness, along with the cacao accents remind me of family celebrations around a warm, woody fire. Although the ingredients appear quite obscure at first, they are all very accessible and the use of chickpea water as opposed to egg white gets extra points from me and all the vegans out there!
Robb Collins of London Cocktail Club (London) presented, Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood Blvd is curated using 50ml Bacardi Ocho Años, 25ml pineapple juice, 20ml lemon juice, 15ml honey syrup (1:1), 5g or half a 5ml bar spoon of Dijon Mustard and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters. Shake all the ingredients with ice. Double strain and serve short over Block Ice and garnish with a pineapple leaf.
This cocktail is as rich as its name would suggest and the creamy flavour of Dijon Mustard adds surprising depth to the sweet and fresh notes of the complementary ingredients. I found Collins’ cocktail to be one of the most moorish of the six, and here is where bravery and experimental prowess pays off.
Oliver Pluck of Epicurus (Leeds) presented, El Beso
El Beso, meaning The Kiss in English, contains 50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca, 15ml Martini Aperitivo (delicious!), 12 drops Sexy Bitters (also delicious!), 50ml fresh pink grapefruit juice, 10ml 2:1 sugar syrup and La Fee absinthe spray/rinse. Rinse the glass with Absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into coupette. Garnish with a dehydrated grapefruit slice.
As you can probably already tell, I thought this cocktail was delicious! It has the right balance of sweet and sour and the hint of absinthe will surely have your lips puckered for the rest of the evening.
Christopher McQuillan of Olivers (Belfast) presented his cocktail, no. 62
No. 62 is made using 60ml Bacardi Carta Blanca, 50ml pineapple juice, 20ml lime juice, 15ml coriander syrup (1:1:1) and a dash of absinthe. Add all ingredientstoo a cocktail shaker apart from the absinthe and shake over ice. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail vessel which has been sprayed with absinthe and garnish with coriander and pineapple crisp.
McQuillan’s cocktail has a soft yet tart taste, with an impressionable surprise from the coriander syrup. The blend of flavour a morph into a smooth cocktail with none of the individual flavour a remaining distinguishable.
The UK is producing some stiff competition for the global finals this year and having tasted these amazing cocktails I do believe the winner is among us!