LATE last month Edinburgh bartender Leon Back – of Panda & Sons – was named UK winner of the Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition, securing a place in the global final, which will be held in Mexico in the new year.
Here, Bacardi brand ambassador Metinee (May) Kongsrivilai talks about the importance of these competitions to the Bacardi brand – and shares her views on the standard of bartending talent in Scotland.
• How important is it to Bacardi to be hosting competitions such as Legacy?
Bacardi as a company has had a long tradition of working with great bartenders through competitions.
From the early Cuban Cantineros in the 1920s, through to Martini Grand Prix and, of course, the last decade with Bacardi Legacy.
A cocktail competition that started off for the UK only, Bacardi Legacy has now become one of the largest and prestigious in the world, with over 40 countries involved.
The objective was to provide a platform for bartenders to create a signature drink that has the potential to establish itself as a classic, alongside the likes of the Mojito or the Daiquiri.
• What are you looking for from the winners? What’s the difference between a good entry and a winning one?
A winning presentation takes you on a journey before you even try the final drink. A charismatic performance together with strong technique and a tasty, balanced drink is the perfect package.
• How do Scotland’s bartenders compare with those from elsewhere in the UK or overseas, in terms of the standard of cocktails and their general approach to drinks and mixology?
Edinburgh has always produced some of the most accomplished bartenders and mentors in the country.
Bartenders in Scotland have always strived to be the best, but what this region is renowned for is their community spirit, as well as their humility and approachability.
You’re always guaranteed to feel welcome and have a laugh at all the venues – which is as important as the cocktails themselves!