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Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2017 in pictures

Marking the ninth edition of the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition, bartenders, industry luminaries and global press were flown to Berlin, Germany for the semi-final and grand final events. After touching down from different times zones, guests became acquainted over welcome drinks at Bar Tausend in Mitte.

Here the semi-final running order was drawn, announced by Bacardi’s global brand ambassador Dickie Cullimore and the wider team. Vitaly Alekseyev from The Duchess in Amsterdam would grace the stage on the first day, followed by António Saldanha de Oliveira from Curfew, Copenhagen; Dave Kerr of The Beaufort Bar, Australia; Jorge Landeros of Fifty Mils, Mexico City, Mexico; Nicolas Munoz of Bespoke Cocktail Bar in Paris, France; Grzegorz Nowicki of 6 Cocktails, Warsaw, Poland; Orman Bag-ao of Long Bar, Raffles and Fairmont Hotel Makati in Manila, Philippines; Osman Fethi Baycan of Alexandra Cocktail Bar, Istanbul, Turkey; Maurizio La Spina of Bartender’s Italia in Naples, Italy; Eetu Topo from Helsinki, Finland; Ran Van Ongevalle of The Pharmacy in Knokke-Heist, Belgium; Davide Boncimino of The Other Room, Singapore; Kaitlin Wilkes of Corner Club, Stockholm, Sweden; Ryan Kent Wainwright of The Ponte in Los Angeles, US; Péter Gózon from Warmup Rustic Bar, Budapest, Hungary; Kenny Klein of Bad Ischl, Austria; Max Ivaschenco of Motel, Moscow; Darren Miley from Ostro, Auckland, New Zealand; Ingrid Skaue Øines from To Rom og Kjøkken of Trondheim, Norway.

Split across two days due to the sheer volume of competitors, the second semi-final contingent consisted of Hideyuki Saito from Bangkok, Thailand; Darnell Holguin from Fifty Restaurant and Bar, New York, US; Kolomiiets Dmytro Mikhailovich of Paravoz Speakeasy, Kiev; Anton Martaplias of BarDuck, Minsk, Belarus; Noam Sharet of A23 Local Blend, Tel Aviv, Israel; Kentaro Satoh of Bar Day Cocktail, Yokohama, Japan; Sandro Pimenta of Farol Hotel, Cascais, Portugal; Matías Iriarte from Ginbo Group, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Martin Bornemann of Werk 8, Basel, Switzerland; Pawan Singh Rawat of Grappa Bar, Shangri-La Eros Hotel, New Delhi, India; Loretta Toska of Theory Bar & More in Athens, Greece; Wade Cleophas of Norwegian Escape, representing Cruise Ships; Ludovico De Biaggi of BASA Basement Bar, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Matthew Boyle from Field Guide & The Clever Barkeep Ltd, Halifax, Canada; Conor Myers of The Exchequer, Dublin; Joe Harper of Dakota Deluxe in Leeds, UK; Christoph Henkel of Shepheard Bar, Cologne, Germany; Grace Tsai of Bar 21, Tainan, Taiwan; and Allan Fang from Barules Cocktail Club, Shanghai, China.

The following morning the first of three competitor excercise sessions, Health and Wellbeing, were hosted by Executive Fitness Foundation owner Iain Bell, beginning with Tai Chi, and followed by Yoga Flow salutations and a morning jog around a local park.

Competitors then departed for Atelier to attend the first in a series of seminars and workshops that would take place over the coming days, spanning the topics of aroma, touch, taste, sight, and sound. Global advocacy director Jacob Briars led the charge with ‘sound’ – exploring the role of music in bars.

Gn Chan hosted a talk charting the journey since his victory in the 2016 edition of the Bacardi Legacy, and explored how competing in and winning the competition can bolster competitors’ careers – titled ‘Be Part of the Legacy’.

The following day – and with an additional coach-load of guests in tow – competitors headed to Fabrik 23, where they split into three groups to enjoy rotating workshops led by noted bartenders. Naren Young, owner of Dante in New York and founder of drink, food and travel blog Fork and Shaker, presented ‘aroma’, where he covered a variety of topics including equipment, techniques, processes – from aromatising whole eggs to manipulating the base ingredients of classic cocktails as a way to innovate.

Japanese bartender Hidetsugo Ueno of Tokyo’s Bar High Five focussed on ‘touch’ for his seminar, covering glassware, bottle-handling, customer interaction and Japanese-style service. He ended the session with an ice carving demonstration, first creating the traditional spherical ice ball seen in bars across the globe, and then his own creation – the ice diamond.

Monica Berg, co-founder of P(our) and drinks consultant at Himkok, Oslo, experimented with flavour in the ‘taste’ seminar. Here she served the Piña Colada seven ways, exploring how outside influences alter guests’ perception of flavour, active eating, ingredient sourcing, and the importance of making drinks that are delicious over drinks that are ‘correct’.

The final workshop was led by highly-acclaimed cabaret performer Reuben Kaye, who offers tips and advice on how to tackle stage fright, successful preparation, and setting the tone of the stage – interjected with fierce wit, captivating storytelling and dazzling musical performances.

The grueling semi-final, which took place in front of a live audience and was streamed online, saw bartenders present two cocktails in seven minutes to Monica Berg, of Oslo’s Himkok; Klaus St. Rainer of The Goldene Bar in Munich; Tristan Stephenson of Purl and Worship Street Whistling Shop; Franck Dedieu, Bacardi Legacy 2015 winner; and global rum ambassador Ian Burrell. In addition, competitors were tasked to complete a five-month promotional campaign for their drink ahead of the competition, which was judged by Melissa Frank, VP marketing Bacardi Europe; Enrique Comas, trade advocacy senior manager Latin America; Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan; and Sandrae Lawrence of The Cocktail Lovers. From 38 competitors just eight remained: Darren Miley of New Zealand, Ran Van Ongevalle of Belgium, Grace Tsai of Taiwan, Dave Kerr of Australia, Conor Myers of Ireland, Hideyuki Saito of Thailand, Loreta Toska of Greece, and Kentaro Satoh representing Japan.

First to take to the stage was Darren Miley, presenting his cocktail Admiral’s Salute – a tribute to everyday people whose achievements go unnoticed. The drinks comprised Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, Cocchi Americano, Fino Sherry, grenadine, Angostura bitters and peach bitters.

Hot on his heels was Belgium’s Ran Van Ongevalle with Clarita, made using Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, Amontillado Sherry, crème de cacao, absinthe, and saline solution. Following in his father’s footsteps as a bartender and Bacardi Legacy competitor, Van Ongevalle’s drink took cues from ‘heritage, family and tradition’; blending ‘a family of flavours’ in the manner of a Maestro de Ron.

Grace Tsai of Taiwan followed with Apóstol, comprising Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, American rye whiskey, PX Sherry, dark chocolate liqueur and a pinch of cinnamon power. According to Tsai, the burning of cinnamon powder symbolises war and suffering, while the bitter-sweetness of the dark chocolate represents hard work and the eventual sweetness of success. 

Australia’s Dave Kerr took to the stage next with The Viento, which combined Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, fresh strawberry jiuce, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup and coconut oil. The drink is “not a drink designed to impress other bartenders”, but rather “a flavour combination that should evoke memories of fun, while challenging the palate to identify modern textures”.

Representing Ireland was Conor Myers with his festival-inspired drink Electric Avenue. His efficient, low cost, low abv cocktail combined Bacardi Carta Oro Rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and ruby port.

Hideyuki Saito of Thailand celebrated the tomato with his offering, La Blanca. Made from Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, tomato and vanilla syrup, fresh lime juice, egg white and extra virgin oilive oil, the drink was inspired by his curiosity for food and flavours, and represents “the cleanness and freshness of new experiences”.

Loreta Toska, representing Greece, presented Look For The Silver Lining – focusing on hard work and a positive attitude. Made using Bacardi’s Carta Blanca expression, the innovative cocktail featured vanilla ice cream, lime juice, orange liqueur and flower honey syrup. 

The final performance was from Japanese bartender Kentaro Satoh with Mariel. By combining Bacardi Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, orange juice, coconut water, honey and absinthe, Satoh aimed to bridge Yokohama with the Cuban port city of Mariel to create “a new port city cocktail”.

After tense deliberation, judges named Belgium’s Van Ongevalle as the Bacardi Legacy 2017 competition winner. Bacardi will work with Van Ongevalle over the next year to provide career development opportunities and support and garner worldwide recognition for his drink. Amid Mojito waterfalls and grand pianos transformed into bars, guests at the final were treated to an exclusive DJ set by Major Lazer’s Jillionaire and continued to celebrate late into the night.

The trip ended with a celebration day filled to the brim with cocktails, food and a special announcement – Bacardi has created a limited edition rum in collaboration with Trinidadian DJ and music producer Jillionaire, who has been appointed as the brand’s ‘minister of rum’ as part of its ongoing Sound of Rum campaign.

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