Bacardi Legacy 2017 SEU Finals
“I think Cocktails For You should be there for the Bacardi Legacy Southern European Finals in Madrid next February…”
All journey’s start with the first step & in this particular case with this first phrase… We have grown accustomed to seeing the words legacy & family on our mobiles, laptops & magazines over the last couple of years. Although the concept remains the same year after year the approach changes with every new champion & cycle in the life of this gauntlet thrown down by the Bacardi company. Create a cocktail… Tell a story… Leave behind a Legacy… We met the contestants, we saw their campaigns unfold & we bumped into them many times on our own travels around. When we came into the meeting with our Media coordinator for the event she spoke the most important words about our presence at the Bacardi Legacy Southern European Finals: “We have no brief for you, we want to see the Cocktails For You perspective of the competition…”
Here’s our impression of the annual battle of the bartenders hosted this year in Madrid by last years runner-up Moe Aljaff & the now infamous “Lady Daiquiri” Natalia Garcia at the El Principio in the centre of the city. Before we head into the grinder of presentation, preparation & execution I’d to say that never before have we seen such a positive combination of people meet to share their passion for the industry, philosophies & ideas with each other. I’d like to give a particular shout out to the debutantes of this year from Portugal – Sara Mendes Correia, Sandro Pimento & Joao Teixeira. To be the first bartenders to represent your country in a global competition creates another layer of difficulty not faced by more veteran members of the race. There is no one to turn to for advice in your particular country, no one who has walked this road before in your part of the world & furthermore the rest of colleagues & peers are watching. Take a bow Portugal – your camaraderie, energy & attitude are the exactly why Bacardi Legacy exists & the bonds you made with others that day can last forever. That being said though this is not to take away anything else from any of the other competitors. Bacardi Legacy brings together people from many different backgrounds & cultures that can often lead to them huddling like penguins in their respective groups. The beauty of our profession is how after a daiquiri or two language barriers disappear, historical prejudices melt away & a heated discussion about ice leads to a round of shots, hugs & awkward kisses between men if the Greeks are involved. We are bound by our differences not separated by them & our variety in culture is the spice of life of our profession. And how much variety there was!
France flew like a butterfly from Nice & stung like a Valkyrie from Paris then when it was all over went all bananas over the result as Nicolas Munoz from Bespoke took the trophy home with a ‘Laissez Faire’ attitude from the French team that cheered & threw him into the air. Italy took us on a whirlwind tour of emotion as we journeyed as a Catalan to Trinidad & back with personal presentations reflecting the chance of travel & to expand our horizons the competition brings. This left us wanting to sit on a beach with the sun above our head drinking the Elixir Tropical from Maurizio La Spina from him home town of Naples. The home of Democracy such as Greece had even more surprised up their sleeve with 4 finalists instead of the usual 3. There were tears of joy, nervous looks & through it all the title of champion didn’t go the 3 Hermanos from Greece but to Loreta Toska with her Silver Lining & since there was a particularly strong support group this year the crowd literally went wild! A lot of “Yamas” & “Viva” replaced the usual call for shots of “Ochooo”. The hosting country has its own twist of fate. This carnival of emotions could’ve swung either way as the Spaniards battled on stage with the bull that is this competition. The gentlemen who took it home however was none other than Matias Iriarte Turnes with the El Luchador. We shall see how he grapples in the global finals & we hope he can unmask his opponents to stand supreme. To bring it all full circle back to our first timers Portugal. As Sandro Pimenta was declared the winner & tears of j