James Irvine wins 2018 Bacardi Legacy Australia Cocktail Competition
Hospitality royalty gathered at Darlinghurst’s Eternity Playhouse last night to watch three of Australia’s finest bartenders compete in the Australian finals of the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2017/18.
The black-tie event was buzzing as attendees sipping cocktails including a rum Old Fashioned, daiquiris and mojitos, while enjoying barramundi sliders, chorizo tostadas and empanadas.
The three finalists were James Irvine, from the The Swillhouse Group, NSW; Vini Wang, from Hains & Co, SA; and Zachary Mynott, from Canvas Club, QLD. All three were compelling showmen and mixologists as they created their drinks for the audience and judges.
Irvine (below) emerged victorious with his Bocado cocktail. His Bocado - which features BACARDÍ Gran Reserva 8 Años Rum, DeKuyper Creme de Bananes, Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth, Palo Cortado Sherry and rosemary oil - was judged not only against its ingredients and methods used, but also the expertise in marketing the drink to the public. According to Irvine, the Bocado utilises mouthfeel, Spanish influence and visuals to create an homage to everyone he feels contributes to making a bar successful: the bartenders, designers and consumers.
The win realises Irvine's dream of a BACARDÍ Legacy title, having competed in the finals three years ago. He will now represent Australia on the global stage in Mexico City.
Irvine is now off to Mexico City in April on an all-expenses-paid journey to represent Australia against the best bartenders from 35 countries globally.
“I’d like to thank and congratulate the two gentlemen to my left [Wang and Underwood-Mynott] that have both put up a great campaign over the last three months,” said Irvine upon receiving the title.
“More importantly, what Dave Kerr summarised just now was that we’re not changing lives here, but I do think we could make the argument that we make them a little more fun – so thank you to all of you guys who came out tonight.
“Massive thank you to Bacardi-Martini global for putting on such a great competition and such a great platform – it’s an honour to be representing this great country in April.”
BACARDÍ-Martini Australia Marketing Director Jonathan Sully said: “Seeing three titans of the artful craft of bartending going head to head under such high pressure is truly inspiring. Their passion for creating a legacy of their own shone brightly, and the judges had their work cut out for them picking a winner.”
The panel of judges consisted of previous Australian BACARDÍ Legacy winners Fred Siggins and Dave Kerr, joined by the now Singapore-based Jason Williams (of Keystone fame). MC extraordinaire Charlie Lehmann of Ramblin’ Rascal kept the crowd entertained and the energy high.
Irvine's prizes, including promotional, stocking and financial support from Bacardi nationally and in their hometown. The public will be able to try Bocado from select bars around the country in March.
Bacardi Legacy was established to challenge the best contemporary bartenders in the world to create a cocktail that will stand the test of time, like BACARDÍ classics such as the daiquiri and mojito.
Here are some photographs from the event:
Pictured main: Bacardi MD Denis Brown with the finalists.