The Bacardi Legacy Switzerland competition was launched yesterday in the Blaue Ente in Zurich. Invited were Chris Moore from the Beaufort Bar in London, Shervene Shahbazkhani, the new North European brand ambassador for Bacardi. They were joined by Hasan Sivrikaya, Swiss brand ambassador, and Simon Brandmayer, the winner of last year’s Bacardi Legacy Switzerland.
Bacardi Legacy Switzerland: the competition
For those of you who are not familiar with the Bacardi Legacy competition: It is one of the biggest bartending competitions. It started in 2010, and is now in its sixth iteration. Last year, almost 40 countries were represented in the global final. It differs from other competitions in two aspects:
Firstly, the drink created must be as simple, as easy to replicate as to become a new classic. So no barrel-aging, no hard-to-find ingredients, no rotovap.
Secondly, the competitors must promote their drink for a couple of months. That means to get it listed on other bars’ menus around the world, create events etc.
In Switzerland, these are the key dates:
- Until 6th of September entries will be accepted. You first need to register your interest on the website, after which you will be mailed the application form.
- Between the 14th and 19th of September, the jury, made up of Simon Brandmayer, Hasan Sivrikaya and possibly others, will then select the most promising entries based on the recipe and inspiration.
- From November to March 2016, is the promotion period
- On the 15th of March 2016, the winner of Bacardi Legacy Switzerland will be announced in Vienna.
- On the 19th of April 2016, the global final will take place in San Francisco.
Shervene Shahbazkhani and five Bacardi classics
Bacardi’s new North European ambassador presented five lesser known rum classics as inspiration for the competition. A recurring theme between all of them was that they included one slightly obscure. Also, it was interesting to see how in all of them, the Bacardi did not take the center of the stage, but rather provided a backdrop on which that special ingredients would shine.
She started with a Daisy de Santiago from Charles Baker’s Jigger, Beaker and a Glass. It is a Daiquirí with the addition of yellow Chartreuse, served on crushed ice and garnished with berries. I really don’t understand why this drink is served with the berries that have nothing to do with the drink itself except than to liken it to a cobbler, but the drink itself was decent and certainly something worth playing around with.
The second drink was the Barlovento, published in Pedro Chicote’s La Ley Mojada (the wet law). This one was certainly my favourite, so let me replicate the recipe below. I thought the saltiness of the olive brought a entirely different side to the drink, which is quite fascinating.
- 25 ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
- 15 ml Noilly Prat dry
- 15 ml Cointreau
- 10 ml lemon juice
- Shake and strain into chilled coupette. Garnish with one olive.
Next up was a Sonora from the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. A mix of rum, apple jack, apricot brandy, egg white and lemon juice; which tasted like choking on a piece of dry wood. This is probably due to the dryness of the apple jack, and it might work better with Calvados.
Finally, the BVD from The Artistry of Mixing Drinks by Frank Meier was presented. Frank lists it as equal parts of Bacardi, vermouth and Dubonnet; but there exist many variations. Ensslin, for example, lists a drink with Bacardi, vermouth and dry gin under the same name. In our case, I think the drink was dominated by the Dubonnet.
Chris Moore, Simon Brandmayer and their experiences
Next, Chris Moore, who had won the UK leg of the competition in previous years, and since has been judging the competition in different countries, related his experiences of the competition. He also presented a few of the drinks that came up in the competition so far; however, I’ll leave these for future posts.
Both Chris and Simon explained what forms the promotion can take; and how much effort it takes. Simon, for example, engaged with the global network of the Hyatt Hotel chain to get his drink listed in several bars abroad; and both pointed at the importance of guest bartending.
Chris also spoke about his experiences as a judge in the competition; and he put a lot of emphasis on how important it is for competitors to come up with their own stories – rather than to tell the story of Don Facundo over and over again.
I think the event was nicely put together and gave a good impression of what kinds of drinks are successful in the competition; and the effort it takes to then see through the promotion. For more information about how to create a successful promotion, check out this article on Australian Bartender.