Bacardi Legacy is a cocktail competition whose brief is to create the “next modern classic”. 2019 will see the competition spread the search to regions previously left out but can now be part of all the fun. BarsKenya spoke to Bacardi Brand Ambassador Joan Samia who officially launched Bacardi Legacy at Movenpick’s La Messa bar to the bartending community last week.
What is a modern classic cocktail?
A modern classic is a cocktail that can be easily made in any part of the world. A simple and unique cocktail with ingredients that are available anywhere.
Kenyan bartenders get to participate on a wild card entry. What does this mean?
This year’s competition has a wild card entry for specific regions that were not among the 40 countries that are usually part of the global competition. Kenyans will battle it out with other bartenders in the Africa and Middle East region and the other countries participating are Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Lebanon and Israel. 8 bartenders will be chosen from each of the four regions who will then be cut down to 4. The final 4 from each region will then get a chance to compete in Puerto Rico; the grand home of Bacardi.
What is the competition process going to be?
The initial phases of the competition are online. The website is legacy.bacardi.com and when you enter your age and country it will automatically take you to the wild card entries. The competition is open to bartenders currently working in a bar all over the country and over 21 years of age. The first stage is to share your cocktail recipe and a picture. Shortlisted bartenders will then be asked to share a video preparing the cocktail next. The site has all the rules and guidelines to follow.
Why is it important that the bartender be working in a bar?
This is crucial to us because there’s going to be opportunities to push the entries in the bars where the bartenders work. It’s a good thing because most bartenders are not usually part of the team that decides the drinks menu but thanks to the competition their drinks gets to be featured. Customers can also give valuable feedback for the bartenders’ to gauge their recipes.
How is Barcadi Legacy different from other existing competitions?
Gives the bartenders a better opportunity to make their own signature cocktails and push them in their establishments. Barcadi Legacy also favors popular or the most liked cocktails as opposed to just a “winning” cocktail.
After launching the competition did you get a good response?
Yes, the response was pretty positive. I know some of them, one week later, are already working on their recipes. The competition appeals to the bartenders because it has a different angle and it’s much easier to enter. Since the judging is done by a global team the competition is also free from any bias that may make some of the potential competitors shy away from it.
What can you tell us about rum based cocktails?
Rum is used quite a lot in making cocktails as opposed to being sipped on straight. Here in Kenya, many bars have rum and vodka cocktails featuring more prominently in their menus. Rum is also easy to work with as compared to spirits like tequila. Rum goes well with tropical flavors as well as sweeter ingredients. Out of the three Bacardi rum brands they can work with I’d say the Barcadi 8 would be the trickier choice to work with.
How do you think Kenyan bartenders will fair on in their group?
I have a lot of faith in them; especially due to the fact that they are more exposed to other competitions.
How are you supporting anyone who would like to compete?
Some of them are already consulting with me to understand the rules better or even tasting. We are also providing them with bottles for their creations. I have also been holding training sessions with bartenders at various bars over the years to teach them more about our rums.
What would you tell any bartender who would want to participate but they aren’t too sure…
This is a great opportunity. It’s also a different and less intense competition that focuses on the creativity of the bartenders.
You’ve competed and won in a global competition before, what’s been the biggest advantage for you?
Having met and connected with a worldwide community of bartenders has been priceless.