Words by Chris Moore and Sammy Hemmings
It was 2013 when Chris Moore entered Bacardi Legacy, hoping to find success which he and his bar could thrive on. So, he took to the stage with his cocktail Encantador where he was ultimately crowned the UK Legacy champion.
“I entered because I wanted to elevate the profile of the Beaufort Bar and myself. I’d seen how beneficial the attention was that the American Bar was getting with Erik (Lorincz) winning World Class and the bar winning at Tales and wanted to achieve the same. Pure competitive spirit!” Chris tells us, who was then head bartender at Beaufort Bar, The Savoy.
“It’s the ultimate dream; to create the next classic cocktail. The Penicillin was the last one to really break out of our world (although I hope that the Champagne Piña Colada can make it!) and it’s a really tough ask to create a drink like that which is inventive, different and original all at once.” Chris named his creation Encantador, inspired by Havana, the ‘Paris of the Caribbean’.
“I am inspired by the heritage of Bacardi, particularly during 1920’s Havana, at a time when prohibition forced good time seeking wealthy Americans into the bars of Cuba. Here they drank notable creations of the time, including the Mary Pickford and the National to name a couple. This was a time when women were allowed in bars for the first time, and drinks saw the introduction of exotic fruits. All of this brought a more diverse style of mixed drinks to the masses,” Chris explains.
“Encantador is a recognition of this changing scene in the heritage of the cocktail and is dedicated to what was a golden period in the history of civilised drinking. The impact of this movement cannot be reflected more than in the fact that The Savoy Hotel had a house band during this period called ‘The Savoy Havana Band’ such was its influence around the globe.”
“This heritage is reflective of the history of The Savoy; not only through The Savoy Havana Band and the room in which the Beaufort Bar now exists but also the style of drink that we create today, classics served with an innovative and elegant twist,” Chris says.
The Encantador, meaning charming in Spanish, has a flavourful profile. “Combining the flavours of Bacardi, a product which drove and inspired an entire generation of Cantineros and drinkers, with the classic sweet/sour combination of lemon and sugar with bursts of raspberry and vanilla. All of this is brought together with the dryness of Aperol, which gives the drink a maturity that is a characteristic of such classics as the Bacardi Cocktail and the El Presidente.”
After exhausting national heats, Chris was crowned UK champion. “It was great,” he says, “although it felt more like relief at the time. I said to my wife that after all the time I spent on the competition that if I hadn’t won it would have been a huge let down.”
Contenders market their cocktail during the promotional phase – an essential aspect of the competition. And Chris found that utilising modern marketing was extremely important. “The thing I learnt the most was marketing. That part is more relevant now than ever, we’re moving into a digital world and in order to stay as relevant as possible you have to work on your online brand. 99% of bartenders that I know have aspirations of opening their own bar, and without marketing it just won’t work.”
But what happens to the cocktails that make it – where is the Encantador now? “At the time it was featured on menus in four continents, but I have no idea now. It still pops up on my social media every now and again, and people from the competition back then still ask for it, but I’ve been pushing other things for so long that it’s difficult to keep up.” As the national champion, Chris represented the UK at the global finals in 2013 against 19 countries, receiving the impressive runner-up place among 7 other finalists.
“After Legacy finished for me it was straight in to developing the pop-up menu for the Beaufort Bar and then winning at Tales (Best International Hotel Bar, 2015) and placing in Worlds 50 Best Bars (2015). That was the big goal for me, and after we achieved it I felt like I had to pursue it. Coupette opened last year and we’ve been very successful with the awards and the reputation that we’ve built.” So, all in all, his pure competitive spirit did indeed bring home the success he was seeking.
Chris opened Coupette in 2017, which won Best New International Cocktail Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2018, and New Bar of the Year Award at Class Bar Awards 2018, proving again his desire for prominence in the drinks industry. So, Coupette has been a multi-award winner, and in the style of creating legacy drinks, Chris' Champagne Piña Colada was named Cocktail of the Year 2018 at Class Bar Awards as well.
“Make sure your drink is absolutely nailed. Make sure you love it, and that it’s a really good representation of who you are as a bartender, because you’re going to be making it a lot!” Chris offers to aspiring Bacardi Legacy competitors.
The recipe for Chris’ Bacardi Legacy cocktail Encantador can be found here.
The entry period for Bacardi Legacy 2019 is now open. Visit the Bacardi Legacy site to enter.