Move over crappy cocktails! When big spirit names like BACARDI come to town, it’s a sure sign Calgary’s food and drink scene is growing up. In fact, according to Avenue Calgary, the city saw 27 new locations open in 2014.
The BACARDI Legacy competition invites talented contemporary bartenders from around the world to participate in it’s search for BACARDI’s next legacy cocktail. This is the fifth year for the competition, but the first year that BACARDI has included Calgary in its heats, which took place December 3, 2014 at The Living Room on 17th Avenue.
Competitors were judged on the following: cocktail name; technical skills and presentation flair; appearance; aroma; balance flavours and character appeal; ingenuity and innovation; inspiration and story behind the recipe; refreshment; and product knowledge.
The Calgary Contenders
While judges commended the skill and ability of all competing bartenders and their cocktails, the winner of the Calgary heat was James Nguyen from Teatro with his Cuban Cola.
James’ creation incorporated two lesser known flavours in Cuban history, cacao and espresso.
The beginnings of cacao production in Cuba are difficult to pinpoint, but many sources say it first appeared in the 17th century. Cadbury makes mention of cacao plantations in Cuba starting up upon the conquest of Cuba and Haiti by France in 1684. The Havana Times boasts Baracoa, an area in the extreme east of Cuba, as a mecca of cacao in Cuba, contributing around 70 percent of the nation’s total cacao production as of April, 2011.
Café Cubano, a type of espresso shot where the espresso is sweetened with demerera sugar as it is brewed, remains a popular activity in Cuba (and Cuban communities in the United States) after espresso machines were first imported into the country from Italy.
Calgary winners advance to the National Finalist Showcase in March for the opportunity to compete in the Global Legacy Competition in Sydney, Australia.
For more details on the BACARDI Legacy Competition or to see last year’s winning cocktail, visit www.BACARDIlegacy.com.