Bacardi Legacy Competition 2016 - Seattle Battle

Bartending is more than a job, it is a career and passion for many. One way that bartenders flex their creative muscles is by participating in cocktail competitions. You might remember that I participated in Bombay Sapphire's Most Imaginative Bartender competition earlier in 2016 with my cocktail recipe Par La Racine

One of the legendary international competitions is Bacardi Legacy. I had the honor to participate and compete amongst some of the best and brightest in the Pacific Northwest. Other semifinal cities include: Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Kansas City, Chicago, Boston, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, and Miami

How it works:

  • First, recipes are submitted online and finalists are invited to the nearest regional finals (for me, this was Seattle, Washington)
  • Regional Finalists present their recipes to 3 judges (judges were a rep from USBG, Bacardi, and a local influencer)
  • The presentation is timed (3 minutes setup, 7 minutes to present, and 6 minutes to clean up and judges can ask questions)
  • The competition was streamed live on Facebook with spotlights (not scary at all, hah)
  • Competitors had 7 minutes to make 4 cocktails
  • Cocktails were judged by several factors: Name, technical skills/flair, appearance, aroma/balance of flavor, ingenuity & innovation, inspiration & story behind the recipe, drinkability, and product knowledge
  • Semifinalists will go on to compete nationally, and 2 finalists will go on to compete in the global finals

In our competition, there was such a close score between the top 2 scoring bartenders, that there was a daiquiri-off round which was finally awarded to Cameron George of Barrio in Seattle, Washington. These events are fun, stressful, and entertaining all at the same time. My absolute favorite part is by pushing myself and learning from other influential bartenders in the industry.

Congrats to all the U.S. Finalists: 

Check out last year's winner: Gn Chan

 

 
 
 

Ransom Distillery Cuts Camp

This experience is a two part equation: Ransom Spirits and Ransom Wines. Both of which are notably delicious and if you haven't put any down your gullet yet, you are missing out. Ransom distillery is located in Sheridan, Oregon. Also located in Sheridan is a Federal Prison and Church of Scientology's Delphian School. That's a lot going on for 2 square miles of city limits.

Back to the booze- I first heard about Ransom because of their Old Tom Gin. Not many Gins are made in the style, and I think this one is causing a revival.

What makes Old Tom Gin special?

1. It can be aged in barrels (or not)
2. It can be made from malted grain, or neutral spirit
3. It can have sugar added (or not)
4. Must contain Juniper (like all gins)

What do you mean, or not? Well, the facts are muddled since there are no clear rules for the category. There are no age statements on bottles, nor is there a legal requirement to age gin to be called "Old Tom". It is a rather forgiving labeling compared to other spirits. Some Old Tom Gins are distilled from honey base, or stevia is added... but I digress.

Back to Cuts Camp!

Cuts Camp was an incredible opportunity for industry professionals to attend an overnight outing at Ransom Distillery. We spent the day milling grain, making wash, and cleaning and transferring product to different tanks. After a hard day of work we enjoyed an amazing meal among the wine barrels and continued imbibing on Ransom's delights. We even had the pleasure to taste some Italian olive oil while we dined with its maker.

Day 2 we awoke, nestled between a barley field and rows of Albariño grapes. We watched the Old Tom flow from the stills and experienced the minute changes from the phenol plasticky heads to the sweet lemony and herbaceous hearts. 

Bridging that gap between product and producer is what it's all about.

Special Thanks to Tad Seestedt, Art Tierce, and the entire Ransom Spirits team for making this event so educational, and fun! Thanks to Oregon Bartenders Guild for providing the opportunity to attend. I can't wait until the next Cuts Camp! For the latest from OBG check out their Facebook

According to the Ransom Spirits Website:

"Ransom Spirits was started by Tad Seestedt in 1997 with a small life savings and a fistful of credit cards. The name was chosen to represent the debt incurred to start the business - Tad was paying his own ransom to realize his dream. Initially, the distillery made small amounts of grappa, eau de vie and brandy. Ransom began the production of a number of small-batch fine wines in 1999. In 2007, we took up the craft of grain-based spirits, adding gin, whiskey and vodka to the lineup. In 2010, we combined our crafts of winemaking and distilling to create our first Dry Vermouth." 

La Mûre Sauvage - Ransom Old Tom Gin cocktail

In the Pacific Northwest, you never want summer to end. When there is a dry warm stretch in the forecast, the rivers and hiking trails are filled with people soaking in their Vitamin D. Everyone calls in sick if it's over 85 degrees. In the city the terraces, patios, and rooftops are packed with locals and tourists alike, sucking down tall refreshing fruity cocktails and craft beers. Today, the former struck my fancy, and I wanted to use the wild blackberries behind my house for something special. What says summer more than a giant hurricane glass full of gin and organic wild berries?

La Mûre Sauvage

Ingredients:

2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1 oz Lime Juice
handful of wild blackberries (frozen, if you must)
3/4 oz Mint Simple Syrup
Soda Water to top, Tonic if you like more sweetness

Directions:

In a shaker tin, muddle blackberries, add Gin, Lime juice, mint simple syrup, shake with ice. Double Strain onto fresh ice in a hurricane glass. Top with soda water and garnish with blackberries and mint sprig. Savor. The end.