Bacardi Legacy: Elizaveta Yufriakova & The Knight Cup

Words by Elizaveta Yufriakova and Sammy Hemmings

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In 2013, Elizaveta Yufriakova (then Elizaveta Evdokimova) entered Bacardi Legacy in Russia for the second time. It would be this occasion she’d flourish, firstly triumphing in the national competition, then went on to achieve worldwide success by taking home the global trophy.

Elizaveta tells us when she went to university she wanted to be an engineer. She unexpectedly found herself in the bartending industry, and her career grew from there. It was whilst working behind the bar at Delicatessen in Moscow she was encouraged by her mentor, the bar’s owner Vyacheslav Lankin, to enter Bacardi Legacy once again.

Bacardi Legacy is an opportunity to showcase your innovation on a global stage and to promote it to consumers worldwide. “It was a challenge - you have to sell your cocktail. You want this cocktail to be liked by people,” she tells us. “It’s about somebody making it, not just in your bar, but around the world - and people actually liking your cocktail is inspiring.”

Judges seek a cocktail with potential to become a true classic. Cocktails are judged on their name, originality, replicability and inspiration. There was one ingredient in particular that posed an issue in Elizaveta’s cocktail. “The major challenge was I used an Italian Artichoke bitters in my cocktail,” she says. “We still don’t have it in Moscow, so I have to bring it here.”

But The Knight Cup’s legacy potential shone through and Elizaveta was crowned the Russia Bacardi Legacy champion. She explains the inspiration came from the knights in history which she intended to represent as a traditional aspect to her cocktail. And the name brings to mind a “night cap”.

After winning Bacardi Legacy in Russia, Elizaveta competed against the 19 global finalists. It was The Knight Cup that came away with the win, and her career thrived from then on. Elizaveta recalls that she was not a well-known bartender before Bacardi Legacy. “After, I suddenly became a famous bartender all over the world, it’s quite weird sometimes... it’s quite amazing,” she says.

“My bar is still making the cocktail. Not only is The Knight Cup a part of my legacy, it’s a part of Delicatessen’s. They’re very proud of me,” Elizaveta says. But Bacardi Legacy is “not only about your cocktail, but about your personality, how much you do to build your own brand with your cocktail.”

During the competition contenders have the opportunity to network with others in the industry. “The most important thing for me,” Elizaveta says, “is I get to meet these great bartenders. I had the chance to connect and work with them – that is the greatest thing.”

And what makes Bacardi Legacy standout among cocktail competitions? Elizaveta says, “A great thing about this competition is you become a part of the Bacardi Legacy, which has a 150 years history – and you become a part of this history. It’s really honouring.”

“This whole experience to be famous, to create one cocktail which will become your legacy, eventually, hopefully,” she says, can be the thrill of the journey. It’s the creative adventure, the chance to challenge yourself and to create something which will grow into a classic legacy cocktail.

She says, if your interest is “to become somebody in the bartending world, competitions can do that really fast.” And Bacardi Legacy provides year-long mentorship for the global champion, offering support to develop their career and also helping establish their cocktail around the world.

So, Bacardi Legacy helps to excel the champion’s career long after the competition ends. For Elizaveta this has recently taken her to a different and yet related profession. “I decided to quit bartending to become a chef,” she explains on her latest career choice. “A part of me has always wanted to be a chef… the kitchen is a completely new world.

“I’m not sure if I’ll go back to the bar,” Elizaveta says. “This cocktail is a part of me and the bar scene… I’ll be really happy if it continues on for the next 10 years.” And as a Legacy cocktail, it definitely has the potential.

Although, Elizaveta makes frequent appearances during the annual Russia Bacardi Legacy competition. She tells us she’d be really happy to continue supporting it each year, to inspire other bartenders and help them establish their own legacy creation.

To all aspiring Legacy competitors, Elizaveta recommends coming to stage with innovation, originality and vigilance. “If you want to enter Bacardi Legacy, do your homework,” she says. “It’s already been 10 years - research and check what flavours have already been used.”

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You can try Elizaveta’s Bacardi Legacy cocktail The Knight Cup here.

The entry period for Bacardi Legacy 2019 is now open. Visit the Bacardi Legacy site to enter.

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