Iain Griffiths was announced as the UK winner of the Bacardí Legacy Cocktail Competition 2015-2016 at an industry dinner last night.
The rum brand hosted the final at The Gilbert Scott restaurant in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, and the three semi-finalists – Iain Griffiths of Dandelyan, Santiago Michelis of Happiness Forgets and Oli Pluck of The East Village – were all present with their supporters to find out who had triumphed.
‘Legacy comes around every year, and I may be biased, but it’s very special. It seeks to try and find a drink to stand with those classic cocktails,’ said Northern European Bacardí brand ambassador Shervene Shahbazkhani before the announcement was made. ‘It’s hard work, but those competitions that come easily aren’t worth fighting for. This evening is about celebrating the hard work that these finalists have put in.’
Griffiths looked to the Switchel, a 17th-century drink created in the sugar cane fields of the Caribbean, for inspiration when creating his drink. Containing sugar, water, spice and vinegar, it laid the groundwork for the rum swizzle.
As part of his campaign to promote the drink, Griffiths created the Switchel Academy, training up 35 junior bartenders in a series of seminars.
‘You have no idea how nervous I still am right now!’ exclaimed a very happy Griffiths as he came off the stage. ‘It feels weird to have my name called out when there were actually hundreds of people who helped to make my campaign happen. I realise how fortunate I am to have that network of people to call on.
‘The next challenge is quite daunting, but I’m looking forward to presenting my drink to a wider audience. And I get to go to the West Coast – I love that part of the world.’
Commenting on Griffiths’ win, Metinee Kongsrivilai, Bacardí UK brand ambassador, said: ‘Iain’s campaign represents everything we are looking for in a Bacardí Legacy winner, so we’re thrilled to have him representing the UK in San Francisco at the global final. He delivered an exceptional promotional campaign and the passion and determination he demonstrated gained him a lot of support and respect.’
The global final will be held in San Francisco next month.
The winning drink Carta Switchel
Garnish: Grapefruit twist and mint sprig
Method: Build in the glass. Swizzle with crushed ice and garnish.
25ml Bacardí Carta Blanca
25ml Bacardí Carta Oro
25ml fresh grapefruit
12.5ml sugar syrup
4 dashes apple vinegar
4 dashes Fernet-Branca