Bacardi Legacy UK 2014 Cocktail Competition

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Bacardi Legacy stands out from other cocktail competitions as it rewards those who create simple but great tasting drinks that can be easily replicated by both bartenders and consumers around the world. The judges are looking for true ‘Legacy’ cocktails to join the ranks of Bacardi classics such as the Cuba Libre, Daiquiri and Mojito rather than one-off complex, unreplicable competition drinks.


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Bacardi Legacy was conceived in the UK and this is the eighth year the competition has been held here, this year's (2014) UK National Final was held within the Victorian splendour of the Great Conservatory at London's stately Syon Park. Eight finalists were drawn from heats held across the UK for the head-to-head competition.

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I was lucky enough to be on the judging panel so sampled all eight cocktails, along with fellow judges Kate Spicer (food and drink journalist and broadcaster), Chris Moore (2013 Bacardí Legacy National winner from Beaufort Bar at London's Savoy Hotel), David Cordoba (Bacardí Global Brand Ambassador), Tom Walker (winner 2014 Global Legacy from The American Bar at London's Savoy Hotel).

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The event was hosted by the fabulous Shervene Shahbazkhani, Bacardí's UK Brand Ambassador. As we've come to expect from Legacy finals, all the performances were polished and the drinks balanced and tasty - even under the great pressure the bartenders were performing, standing at what resembled a pulpit in front of the large crowd.

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Each competitor had ten minutes to make their drink while presenting what inspired them to make their cocktail. A couple of the stories were poignant, several heartfelt and one especially entertaining. Echoing wider bartending trends, half of the cocktails contained sherry with a fifth, Matt's using sherry vinegar. I particularly liked this and two other cocktails and I've indicated my score for each drink alongside the recipes below (a potential 35 of the 100 points for each competitor).

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Our task was to find the three 'Most Promising' finalists to go on to the next stage towards representing the UK at the 2015 global final. They are: Benjamin Davis, Matt Fairhurst and Ally Martin. Their drinks and those of the other competitors are as follows in the order they appeared on the night:

1. Robert Woods
from The Edgbaston, Bristol

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Cubanisima
Difford's score 25/35
Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Small black cherry
Method: SHAKE allingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
45 ml Bacardi Superior Rum
10 ml Ferrand dry orange curaçao
10 ml Martini Rosso vermouth
25 ml Citrus mix (fresh lemon, lime & mandarin)
5 ml House pomegranate grenadine syrup
5 ml House pineapple sherbet


2. Luca Missaglia
from Quo Vadis, London

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Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Difford's score 27/35
Glass: Short collins
Garnish: Cracked black pepper
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
60ml Bacardi Gold Rum
20ml Manzanilla dry sherry
20ml Pineapple juice
20ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
12.5ml Orgeat syrup
2 pinch Salt


3. Benjamin Davis *FINALIST*
from The Suburbs, Manchester

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Golden Age
Difford's score 23/35
Garnish: Slice of dried banana
Method: DRY SHAKE all ingredients, SHAKE again with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
45ml Bacardi Superior rum
10ml Yellow Chartreuse
10ml Crème de banana
20ml Housemade burnt butter syrup
25ml Fresh lime
1 Egg white


4. Roman Foltan
from The Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel, London

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Optimist
Difford's score 31/35
Glass: Flute
Garnish: Grapefruit zest twist (discarded) & vegetable charcoal rim with diamond dust
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
50ml Bacardi Superior Rum
30ml Tio Peppe fino sherry
15ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
20ml Sugar syrup
2 dashes Peychaud bitters


5. Michael Brown
from The Albany, Belfast

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The True Caney
Difford's score 12/35 - would be a great drink with Bacardi 8
Glass: Small wine
Garnish: Orange twist
Method: STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
50 ml Bacardi Superior rum
15 ml Averna
15 ml Martini Extra dry
2.5 ml Pimento Dram
2.5 ml Sugar syrup (2:1)


6. Matt Fairhurst *FINALIST*
from City Social, London

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Tempting Fate
Difford's score 30/35
Glass: Coupette
Garnish: 2 sage leaves & lemon zest twist
Method: STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled glass.
50 ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
20 ml Cloudy apple juice
20 ml Martini Rosso sweet vermouth
12.5 ml St Germain
2 dash Sherry vinegar


7. Michael Braun
from Panda and Sons, Edinburgh

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Don Familia
Difford's score 31/35
Glass: Coupette
Garnish: Mint sprig
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
60 ml Bacardi Gold rum
10 ml Amontillado sherry
15 ml Lime juice (squeezed 2-4 hours in advance for balance of assiduity)
15 ml Agave syrup
4 dash Green Chartreuse
10 ml Fresh pressed pineapple juice


8. Ally Martin *FINALIST*
from Peg and Patriot, London

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The Young Cuban
Difford's score 17/35 (I found diluted on the night, perhaps better served 'up')
Glass: Collins
Garnish: Lemon zest twist (discarded) & dill sprig
Method: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50 ml Bacardi Superior rum
20 ml Lemon juice
15 ml Orgeat
10 ml Fino Sherry
4 sprigs Fresh dill
Small dash of soda

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