Last Sunday, 12 New York City bartenders competed under brights lights and before a large crowd of cheering fans for the chance to represent New York in the National USBG Legacy Cocktail Showcase in Miami on February 18 (and the winner of that contest will be the United States rep in the Global Showcase in May). The rules? Craft a cocktail using BACARDĺ Superior in ten minutes for a stern looking group of industry judges: William Ramos, Bacardi’s Senior Brand Master; John Lermayer, the 2011 National Legacy Showcase Winner; PDT’s Jim Meehan; and Frank Martucci of the USBG. Each tipple was judged on balance, flavor, quality of ingredients, aesthetic appeal, and supporting story.
The pressure and nerves were visible: Some contestants fumbled with their mics, over-poured their cocktails, or scrambled to clear the bar before time was called. 1920s dressed waitresses with beet-topped toast and shrimp tempura wandered between the young crowd as friends and fans cheered. TV screens posted an aerial shot of the contestants along with the recipe for their chosen Bacardi creation.
Two contestants prevailed: Roberto Rosa of Bathtub Gin and Julie Renee Williams of Huckleberry Bar, Evelyn Drinkery, and McKittrick Hotel. They beat out others from places like Blue Hill, Trattoria Il Mulino and Kin Shop. Rosa incorporated his Puerto Rican roots and inspiration from Puerto Rican writer Lola Rodriguez de Tio to create his star anise topped “La Otra Ala.” Williams looked closer to home, melding concepts of a daiquiri and New York sour to create “Back in a New York Groove.”
Rosa and Williams will compete against bartenders from Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and Miami for the chance to move on to the global competition, the destination of which is yet to be revealed. Bacardi hopes to find the next generation of classic rum cocktails.
See the winning recipes on the next page.
Roberto Rosa’s “La Otra Ala”
1 part Bacardi Superior
½ part Galliano
1 ½ parts pineapple juice
1 egg white
1 barspoon vanilla syrup
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Add Bacardi Superior, Galliano, pineapple juice, and vanilla syrup in to a shaker. Add egg white and dry shake. Add ice, shake, and double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
Float a star anise, slightly off center, on the egg white foam. The anise will represent the star in the Puerto Rican flag, add 3 dots of bitters and shape in to the red stripes of the Puerto Rican flag.
Julie Renee Williams’ “Back in a New York Groove”
1 ½ parts Bacardi Superior
¾ part lime juice
¾ part Orgeat
½ part dry red wine
1 lime wheel
Shake, pour over fresh cold draft in an old fashioned, top with a red wine float.