Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bacardi cocktail competition shakes it up

Nightlife Contributor Jarrod Fresquez enjoys the Bacardi experience | photos Jarrod Fresquez

Bacardi cocktail competition shakes it up 
by Jarrod Fresquez

This past Monday evening BACARDĺ rum hosted the USBG Legacy Cocktail Showcase at the W Hotel. Thirteen mixologists were chosen from some of Dallas’ best night spots, known for their craft cocktails, to compete and be judged on their unique rum-based libations’ balance, flavor, quality of ingredients and aesthetic appeal, as well as their enduring popularity and the story behind them. As a kicker, two winners will have the opportunity to participate in the national showcase for the chance to represent the US in the global showcase in April.

I stepped off the elevator onto the 33rd floor and entered into a wide open expanse of white floors, white leather furniture and mirrored mosaic walls. Uplit Bacardi bottles were in abundance, and you couldn’t look anywhere without seeing their logo, a black free-tailed bat emblazoned on a vibrant bed of red ringed in gold. Off to one side was a branded ice sculpture sitting atop the buffet, and at the end of the room was the 30 foot bar backed by shelves upon shelves of the Cuban elixir. Tucked away in the corner was a photo booth, which seems to have become a welcome staple at parties now. The best part was that the entire nighttime skyline acted as the backdrop, viewed through the floor to ceiling windows running along the entire far wall. The centerpiece of this event though was the stand-alone bar where the competition would take place.

Brian McCullough
photo Steven Doyle, CraveDFW
Sfuzzi, Drink.Well., Village Burger Bar, Smyth, Standard Pour, The Ranch, Ten Bells Tavern, Standard Pour, & Cedars Social were well represented by their contestants. I had a moment to meet up with my alchemist/therapist/mixologist buddy Brian McCullough (Standard Pour) before he had to step up to the plate in this battle-match-royale to make his one-of-a-kind cocktail Blood, Sweat & Tears.

JF: What is the inspiration behind your cocktail?

BM: I have bled, sweat (is there a past tense?) and cried my way through this business. It’s a very simple cocktail with only four ingredients, so it’s all about the presentation and how you utilize the glassware. Color and garnish are key. I just want to show that a cocktail can be more than just a drink, if you are going to do anything you should elevate it to the level of art.

JF: What are your thoughts on Bacardi?

BM: It’s a legendary spirit, been around since the 1800’s. It’s a huge supporter of this industry and it’s a market leader for a reason. Who hasn’t heard of Bacardi?

All in all, this was a unique concept where each bartender, one at a time, blended their concoctions in front of the four judges while the crowd cheered them on. This really was an industry exclusive private event, and I hope that Bacardi decides to bring this back to Dallas next year.