The Tasting Panel magazine

JUNE 2011

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Page 99 of 132

“It’s not only a competition. It’s a journey,” said Agostino Perrone on the first day of the adventure that would see one of ten finalists crowned the first annual Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition winner. The journey began in London, where Perrone runs the award-winning Connaught Bar. Along with other industry notables, he acted as both a judge of the competition and as a mentor to the competing bartenders during the week. Three days of lectures, trainings, and bar visits were planned both to prepare bartenders for the competition later that week, and also for later in their careers. Alex Kratena, head bartender at the Artesian Bar, gave the next talk, called “Garnish: The Great Importance of Sexiness,” during which he demonstrated both traditional and unconventional garnishes such as dehydrated fruit, aromatic steams and even computer-controlled machine- carved ice. Education sessions continued with Stanislav Vadrna, a consultant famous for combining Eastern philoso- phy (“It’s not just about the final drink in the glass; it’s about the process.”) with Japanese bartending techniques like the so-called “hard shake.” Further seminars, this time at the American Bar at the newly reopened Savoy Hotel, included a Q&A session with Jose Sanchez Gavito, Maestro de Ron Bacardi, and a history lesson on “The Age of Elegance” in cocktails between the two World Wars. The journey then continued on to Barcelona, the site of the competition. After a quick day trip to the Casa Bacardi in nearby Sitges (the birthplace of Bacardi founder Don Facundo), it was time to prepare for the big event. But “big” The judges (left to right): consulting mixologist Stanislav Vadrna; Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador David Cordoba, Bacardi CEO Seamus McBride, Maestro de Ron Bacardi Jose Sanchez Gavito and Agostino Perrone of London’s Connaught Bar. doesn’t begin to describe it. The competition venue was the enormous Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, located on a hill overlooking the city, and a popular tourist destination in itself. Inside, the competition area was the massive, domed Oval Hall. Invited guests to the competition included journalists from more than a dozen countries, Bacardi brand ambassadors from all over Europe and legendary bartenders like Peter Dorelli and Salvatore Calabrese. Clearly, Bacardi aims to make this global cocktail competition one of the largest, grandest and most-watched events in the industry. And they got off to a great start. But what makes a legacy cocktail? Bacardi CEO Seamus McBride announced at the competition that the bartenders’ goal was to present “a cocktail that is so drinkable, so enjoy- able and so memorable that it stands the test of time.” Bartenders from ten countries—the U.S., India, Russia, Mexico, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K., and Spain—competed on stage to achieve just that. The reward for it would be a prize package that included an opportunity to share their drink with the world on a Bacardi- sponsored trip and a chance to create their own blend of rum at the distillery. The finalists’ cocktails included such original creations as mash-ups of the Mojito, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre (with a Coke foam on top) from the Spanish contestant, an apoth- ecary-themed drink from the Russian contestant (a former june 201 1 / the tasting panel / 99 PHOTO COURTESY OF BACARDI PHOTO COURTESY OF BACARDI

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