By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs
The national final of the Bacardi Legacy Competition took place in Melbourne last night, with Alissa Gabriel wowing the judges with her cocktail The Bouteiller to take home the top honour.
The Queensland local beat out a tough line up to progress to the international finals, which will take place in Sydney in May. There Gabriel will present her cocktail on the international stage to win the chance to have The Bouteiller stand alongside the likes of the Daiquiri, the Mojito and the Cuba Libre.
After spending six months perfecting on her cocktail, and a solid month working on marketing it to bars and drinkers around the world, Gabriel was ecstatic to win the competition.
"I couldn't be more thrilled about taking out the national title for this year's Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition," she said. “The whole experience has been amazing. I hope to stamp not only Australia, but Rockhampton, at the forefront of the global bartending community where it belongs."
The competitors were judged not only on technical ability and the quality of their drink but also the inspiration behind it and the success of their marketing campaign. The Bacardi Legacy competition is unique in that finalists are expected to market their drink to bars both locally and internationally, as well as on social media, before the final round of judging takes place. The finalists' success in spreading the word about their drink is a key part of their presentations.
The judges on the night – including Bacardi family member and global brand manager Enrique Comas and Bacardi Master Blender Jose Sanchez Gavito – were incredibly impressed with the overall quality of the competitors, saying that all of the drinks presented would stand up on a global stage.
Comas told TheShout: "Alissa captured all the elements integral to creating a modern Legacy. The Bouteiller’s taste, aroma and balance were on point, as were Alissa's technical skills.
"Another important consideration in judging this competition is the inspiration behind the drink and overall marketing efforts, and Alissa excelled in these too. This is the start of a journey for the Bouteiller to potentially become a true classic and create a legacy of its own."
The winning drink was inspired by the relationship between Facundo Bacardi and Jose Leon Bouteiller, a French distiller and confectioner who helped to pioneer Bacardi rum. Made with Bacardi Oro, dry vermouth, and Falernum, the cocktail impressed the judges with its creativity, originality, and potential to become a classic Bacardi cocktail.
Fred Siggins, who was also a judge as well as the 2014 National Bacardi Legacy winner, said: "Alissa really surprised me with the quality and originality of her drink. It was the strongest in the competition, which was ultimately the deciding factor. On top of that, her story was original and really well researched, and her presentation was not only poised and professional, but engaging and humble.
"I know the pressure of competing in Bacardi Legacy and the fact that someone so young can do so well against a bunch of highly experienced bartenders speaks to the strength and diversity of our industry. I couldn't be happier for her and can't wait to see her slay it at the global finals in May."
The date for the international final, to be held in Sydney's Town Hall, is yet to be announced.
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