Bacardí Legacy Competition - Creating New Cocktail Classics Around the World

Father's Advice by Ran Duan
Father's Advice by Ran Duan

Bacardí Legacy is a global cocktail competition that started in the UK 7 years ago and is arguably one of the industry's largest competitions. It has grown to expand its reach to over 25 countries with bartenders contending for a chance to win the coveted Legacy cocktail, a trip to the Bacardí's La Galarza distillery in Mexico, a trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and an around the world cocktail voyage. As well as the material prize, the winner sees their cocktail hailed as a new classic; something that will stand the test of time.

This life-changing contest gives bartenders an opportunity to showcase their talents, but where it differs is that it is less about inflating the ego than it is about creating a lasting legacy.

Using Bacardí rum, participants are challenged to create a drink that can stand up next to classic such as the Mojito and the Daiquiri, which are both over 100 years old but just as popular as ever. The drinks should be easily replicable in any bar in the world and not look out of place on today's modern cocktail lists.

Initial entries are selected through to regional heats and then on to nationals where The Most Promising are picked to spend the next 6 months promoting their cocktail around the world. The aim is to generate as much of a buzz around their drink as possible. The Global Final sees a winner crowned as victorious for another year. This year's Global Final takes place in Sydney, Australia in May.

Previous winners of the competition were:

2010 Ago Perrone (UK) - the Mulata Daisy

2011 Marc Bonneton (France) - Marco's Bacardí Fizz

2012 Shingo Gokan (US) - Speak Low

2013 Elizaveta Evdokimova (Russia) - The Knight Cup

2014 Tom Walker (UK) - Maid in Cuba

The competition is spearheaded by David Cordoba- Bacardí Global Brand Ambassador, Shervene Shahbazkhani- European Brand Ambassador and Metinee Kongsrivilai- UK Brand Ambassador.

I asked Shervene to sum up the competition and how it affects the people who enter.

Young Cuban by Ally Martin
Young Cuban by Ally Martin

" The competition encourages bartenders to create simple, replicable drinks. Bacardi then offers support to help the bartenders whose drinks show the most promise to promote their cocktail over 6 months. Over the last 6 years we have seen bartenders travel the world, guest bar tend, sponsor events, and host master classes to promote their cocktails. Some bartenders achieve their goal of creating a well known cocktail. The Mulata Daisy by our first ever winner Ago Perrone can be found in cocktail bars around the world. Zdenek Kastanek's cocktail La Hermosa and Tom Walker's cocktail Maid In Cuba have also achieved this status.

Giselle by Sarah Fulford
Giselle by Sarah Fulford

What is special about this competition is that it is more than just making a drink on stage for one night only. The drink lives beyond the competition and indeed creates its very own Legacy. Bartenders who enter become synonymous with their winning drink and take ownership of its success. This competition gives bartenders the platform to succeed and self promote. The majority of our winners have then gone on to win or be nominated for many prestigious awards. "

I caught up with last year's winner Tom Walker to find out how the comp has changed his life.

What inspired you to take part in Legacy?

I've always been a fan of classic cocktails and the simple ideology behind the bars and bar programs that Sasha Petraske [of Milk and Honey, Little Branch and others] has put together over the last 10 to 15 years or so, and the drinks that have emanated from these places. To use this as inspiration felt pretty organic and true; there was no BS, no made up stuff, just something that came from the heart that I believed in, which really made everything easier.

Legacy is about finding that next classic, and putting aside the futile flamboyancy sometimes found in cocktail competitions. I think that this being the heart and soul of the whole thing makes it pretty unique.

Describe your Legacy experience in 3 words.


How has Legacy changed your life? / What are you doing now?

The Legacy win was essentially the cherry on the cake for a visa application to the US, which is where I am now. I moved to New York at the end of 2014 to work at Attaboy, the space that occupies the old Milk & Honey site, and I get to work with Sammy (Sam Ross) and Micky (Michael McIlroy), the two owners who have helped add a lot of meaning and magic to the space.

Here are some of the recipes from this year's Most Promising:


Tempting Fate by Matt Fairhurst

  • 50 ml/1.7 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Pressed Apple Juice
  • 20 ml/.7 Martini Rosso
  • 10 ml/.33 oz St. Germain
  • 2 dashes Cider Vinegar

Stirred with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up.

Young Cuban by Ally Martin

  • 50 ml/1.7 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Lemon Juice
  • 15 ml/.5 oz Orgeat
  • 10ml/.7 oz Fino Sherry
  • 4 sprigs Dill

Shake with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up. Garnish with dill.


Pura Passion by Enzxo Cangemi

  • 37.5 ml/about 1.25 oz Bacardí Gold
  • 7 ml/ about .25 oz Martini Gran Lusso
  • 18 ml/.6 oz Brewed Hibiscus Tea
  • 5 Chopped Radicchio Leaves
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Radish Simple Syrup (1:1 Simple syrup brewed with a fresh, muddled radish, strained)

Shake with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up.

Father's Advice by Ran Duan

  • 37.5 ml/about 1.25 oz Bacardí Gold
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Punt E Mes
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Cardamaro Amaro
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Lustau Amontillado Sherry
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Creme De Banane

Stir with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up.


La Grandiflora by Jessica Sanders

  • 37.5 ml/about 1.25 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 18 ml/.6 oz Hibiscus Puree
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey) Syrup
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Martini Gran Lusso
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 drops of Almond Extract

Shake well with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up.

Family Ties by Kalani Ben

  • 37.5 ml/about 1.25 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 25 ml/.85 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 18 ml/.6 oz Clove Syrup (1:1 Simple Syrup brewed with several whole cloves)
  • 12.5 ml/.4 oz Luxardo Amaro Abano

Shake with ice until well chilled, strain and serve straight up.


Giselle by Sarah Fulford

Oriental Legacy by Elias Germanos
Oriental Legacy by Elias Germanos
  • 50 ml/1.7 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 20 ml/.7 oz St Germain Liqueur
  • 17.5 ml/.6 Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 5 ml/.17 oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • 2 Mint Leaves
  • 30 ml/1 oz Dry Sparkling Wine

Shake all ingredients except wine with ice until well chilled. Strain into flute glass and top with sparkling wine.


Oriental Legacy by Elias Germanos

  • 60ml/2 oz Bacardí Superior
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 20 ml/.7 oz Simple Syrup
  • 5 Fresh Basil leaves
  • 3 drops of Arak
  • 1 drop of Vanilla Essence

Add first 3 ingredients to shaker. Add basil leaves and muddle gently. Drop in Arak and vanilla. Add ice and shake well. Double strain into chilled coupe glass.

Each of the winner’s recipes were deemed cocktails with Legacy potential for their balance, flavour, quality of ingredients and aesthetic appeal by a panel of judges with strong ties to the craft cocktail community.

It's incredible seeing how well these drinks travel through the platforms of various social media sites, and see many of the drinks being featured thousands of miles away from their homelands. The networking at this stage in the competition alone would open up some exciting avenues for many of the contestants regardless of whether or not they go on to win. Just typing #bacardilegacy into Twitter or Instagram provides a flurry of activity that shows the efforts put in by all the bartenders taking part and the bars showcasing the drinks.

As each potential Legacy continues to promote their drink, we wait with baited breath to see who will be crowned the champion of Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2015!