Following their recipe submissions in September, 25 hopefuls will compete in the preliminary finals in October, in both Cape Town and Joburg.
At the events, each competitor will have six minutes to present two servings of their cocktail to the judges, who include:
- Richard Irwin – Bacardi AMEA Advocacy Manager
- Devin Cross – Mix Cocktail Bar at Mesh Club
- Dino Batista – Molecular Bars
- Johnny Bezuidenhout – Arcade
- Nicholas Crouse – The Charlatan (2016 Bacardí Legacy national winner)
As three of the shortlist are bartenders at Mix Cocktail Bar, Devin will be subbed out for another judge in Joburg, to avoid any conflict of interest.
The contestants’ cocktails must feature Bacardí Carta Blanca Rum, Bacardí Carta Oro Rum, Bacardí Añejo Cuatro Rum or Bacardí Reserva Ocho Rum as the hero, and a maximum of five commonly available ingredients.
For a total of 140 points, they will be assessed on:
- Cocktail name – 10 points
- Inspiration – 15 points
- Originality – 10 points
- Replicability – 10 points
- Visual Appeal – 15 points
- Aroma – 15 points
- Taste, mouthfeel and finish – 40 points
- Performance – 15 points
- Technique – 10 points
- A -10 point time penalty will be incurred from each judge if the competitor goes overtime.
Following the semis, the 25 will be whittled down to a minimum of three; these bartenders will then have three months to compete in the next leg of the competition: the Cocktail Campaign, in which they have to evangelise their cocktail and demonstrate its potential to become a classic in the industry.
Their scores for this leg will account for a third of their total marks at the national finals, to be held in January or February 2020 in Joburg. The national winner will receive a trophy, and go on to compete at the Bacardí Legacy Cocktail Competition Global Final in Miami.
The shortlist contestants are as follows:
Great to see some new names here, as well as some old favourites, including David van Zyl, current national title holder of Patrón Perfectionists; Leighton Rathbone, current national title holder of the Angostura Global Cocktail Competition; and George Hunter, current national title holder of both Olmeca Altos Tahona Society Collective Spirit and Rémy Martin Bartender Talent Academy, and global title holder of Absolut Invite.
Best of luck to them all!