BACARDÍ Legacy Australia Cocktail Competition: Jenna Hemsworth is off to Amsterdam to compete at the global final
Last month, hospitality royalty gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art to witness four of Australia’s finest bartenders’ strain, stir and shake it out in the Australian finals of the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2018/19. After much deliberation following tight presentations and delicious tipples, Jenna Hemsworth of Sydney’s Restaurant Hubert was announced victorious.
The night’s announcement also fell on Founders Day – a day to celebrate the legacy and fearless journey of our Bacardi family over the last 157 years.
Hemsworth’s drink, The Monarch was judged not only against its ingredients and methods used to create a stunning cocktail for the ages, but also the expertise in promoting the drink to the public. In the end, Hemsworth’s inspired use of BACARDÍ Carta Blanca coupled with a flair for promotion both on and off stage won the judges over.
The Monarch is easily replicated and can be made anywhere in the world in a bar or at home. Hemsworth used the drink and her campaign to pay homage to and celebrate the achievements of women both inside and outside of the hospitality industry.
Hemsworth is now off to Amsterdam in May on an all-expenses-paid journey to represent Australia against the best bartenders from 48 countries globally, and potentially etch her country’s name into the bartending history books.
The panel of judges consisted of previous Australian BACARDÍ Legacy winner James Irvine, Coleman’s Academy founder Paige Aubort and Australian Bartender editor Sam Bygrave.
Hemsworth takes home a raft of prizes, including stock, promotional and financial support from BACARDÍ nationally and in their hometown. The public will be able to try The Monarch from select bars around the country over the coming months.
BACARDÍ Legacy was established to challenge the best contemporary bartenders in the world to create their own cocktail legacy. A cocktail that will stand the test of time, as have the Daiquiri and Mojito, revered BACARDÍ classics that are as much part of the unique legacy of Don Facundo Bacardi Masso as the rum itself.
Here, fresh from stepping off stage at the Australian final, Hemsworth talks to us about what it feels like to win BACARDÍ Legacy, and why it means so much.
How does it feel?
For the first time in my life I’m lost for words, hey, so that speaks volumes. This was definitely unexpected, the competition was three of the most inspiring people I’ve come up against in competitions in general, three passionate people who delivered amazing performances — their campaigns were absolutely solid — three people I respect very highly. It was an absolute honour to even be among them, and to win was above and beyond anything I could imagine.
You spoke quite passionately about the inspiration for your drink, can you tell us what it meant to you?
To me, having done Bartender of the Year so many times, [and be] the first female to win such a prestigious competition, that was my starting point — what do I want to say having been given such an amazing platform to speak upon.
It came together when I posted in a Facebook group called Badass Bartender Babes — the amount of support I got from that one post, this community of women coming together [recommending women to profile], there’s distillers, brewers, people in marketing, it was the first thing I’ve seen on the internet in a long time that didn’t have something negative to say about someone else. That was my inspiration, and I couldn’t have done it without that jumping off point, which is empowering yourself through empowering other people. It gave me that drive to wake up and go, “Hey, I feel something about this, I feel passionate about this cause.”
What does BACARDÍ Legacy mean to you? What makes the competition different?
I came through as a wildcard, as a benefit of winning Bartender of the Year. I thought I’m not a strong marketer, I’m not a strong promoter — it’s not something I would put myself forward for.
So then with your promotional campaign, you choose to highlight others.
Empower other people, which in turn helped me because there’s this great army of people who are also passionate about my cause and forward my message as well. I do hope that people in future years won’t be turned off entering [BACARDÍ Legacy] by the fact that it is a lot of hard work, and it is a trying time where you’re trying to finds something to say, you’re really trying to find your own brand. But I do encourage people to give it a go — I can’t speak highly enough about the skills it has given me to further myself as a bartender, I feel more comfortable marketing myself and I feel more comfortable asking for what I deserve.
It’s a great monumental time to go “Hey, we’re speaking up and we’re standing up for what’s right,” and we were in a room full of people tonight who — man or woman — felt likewise.
You’ve got the global finals ahead of you — what happens now?
The things I could do with this, because there’s such a strong message behind the drink, I feel like the possibilities are endless. And I’ve got so many people behind me now who feel the same way, again what I can do with it is endless. I don’t only speak for myself, I’ve got other people speaking for themselves who are also talking the same message. I don’t even know what’s going to happen — I think the most liberating thing a person can do is empower themselves, [more so] if you can do it by empowering someone else.
What advice would you give to someone considering a run at BACARDÍ Legacy next time?
Even if you think it’s not your cup of tea, please give it a go — you’ll be surprised at the things you can learn about yourself, the skills that you learn for whatever career you choose — even if you haven’t decided whether you’re a career bartender yet — the confidence, the self-assurance, and the skills of putting yourself out there, I think this competition has given me the tools to begin on that journey and it will be beneficial to anyone.