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.