Meet your 2020 BACARDÍ Legacy National Finalists

What does it take to create a drink that stands the test of time? How do you make a cocktail that is more than a mere recipe, one that outgrows its creator and flies to places you have never been? Those are the questions that the BACARDÍ Legacy National Finalists are seeking to answer.

Last November, Australia’s Top Ocho battled it out at the semi-final, with Sydney bartenders Adam Dow, Natalie Ng and Mikey Braun from Melbourne advancing to the next stage of the competition. They’ve since been spreading the word about their cocktail — their Legacy — in advance of the national final in Melbourne on Tuesday 4th February 2020.

Here, each of the National Finalists talk a little about why they’re involved in the competition, share some advice on making the National Finals, and share with us the story behind their BACARDÍ Legacy.

Adam Dow.

Adam Dow
Dead Ringer, Sydney

What drove you to enter BACARDÍ Legacy?

After making Top 8 last year, I was really inspired to crack the Top 3 and I put a load of hard work into the drink and competition this year, meeting with Loy and Alex (BAs) a load of times leading up to submission. I was prepared and ready to go well before the submission dates. I really just wanted to prove to myself that I could get to the Top 3 and hopefully beyond.

Tell me more about the Legacy behind your cocktail?

My cocktail is all about The Golden Rule. Everybody knows The Golden Rule – treat others as you’d wish to be treated. But hospitality legend Danny Meyer wrote in his book, “Setting the Table”, that the secret to this was to finding out how a particular person liked to be treated, and then treating them in that way.

What inspires you when creating cocktails for both your bar and competitions?

It’s still classic drinks for me and finding ways to introduce lesser known ingredients into these. Most importantly, I try to create drinks that are approachable and immediately delicious – I’d never create a cocktail that was polarising for guests. Some bars, like Scout, do this really well but it’s just not in my make up or technical ability!

What’s next for you in the hospitality industry?

Hopefully just to continue growing in my current role. I’d like to get better at managing staff and growing revenue at Dead Ringer. Long-term I’d like to be in a position where I am managing operations for a group of bars or restaurants.

For newcomers to the industry what tips and tricks do you have?

If you want to get to senior positions in the industry, whether that’s working for a brand, managing a venue, winning competitions – the answer is always hard work. Drink less, exercise, and find friends outside the industry.

The Golden Rule
Print Recipe

The Golden Rule

  1. Shake all ingredients (except the rosewater) with ice.
  2. Double-strain over large rock ice in a double rocks glass.
  3. Garnish with two sprays of rosewater and one rose petal.

Recipe by Adam Dow.

Natalie Ng.

Natalie Ng
Door Knock, Sydney

What drove you to enter BACARDÍ Legacy? 

It’s a comp I’ve never been a part of before and having stepped away from cocktail comps I thought it was a great way to challenge myself. Creating a cocktail that could possibly be the next global cocktail classic is a fabulous opportunity, and I’m stoked to have gotten this far with my drink, Next Chapter.

Tell me more about the Legacy behind your cocktail?

My inspiration was to create a cocktail that was inspired by building a healthier (both mentally and physically) community especially for people in the hospitality industry. We are creating a legacy for the next generation of bartenders. Our industry is extremely taxing and building a more supportive foundation is key. We are poised to create a better platform, so let’s start now and make sure the next chapter we are writing is a positive one and a step in the right direction.

What inspires you when creating cocktails for both your bar and competitions?
Cocktails always should be about flavour and balance first, before anything else. I think about interesting flavour combinations that aren’t overly isolating when it comes to cocktails in the bar and cocktails for comp should do the same, with a dash of wow factor. We need to think about our customers above all else.

What’s next for you in the hospitality industry? 

Hopefully winning Legacy! I would love to continue to push myself to enter more global comps, people don’t realise how much work and organisation goes into comps behinds the scenes. I am also currently working on a new project/venue, which hopefully I’ll find the perfect location for soon.

For newcomers to the industry what tips and tricks do you have?

Build up your knowledge, both of spirits as well as cocktail techniques. Read books, keep up to date with current trends and draw inspiration from those around you. Practice makes perfect and continue to always ask questions. Don’t pretend to know more than you do, you will get caught out, honesty is key as it’s not easy to build credibility.

Next Chapter
Print Recipe

Next Chapter

  1. Build all ingredients (except the soda) in a stemless champagne glass.
  2. Stir to dilute the tumeric, add ice and top with soda water and stir.
  3. Garnish with lime leaves.

Recipe by Natalie Ng.

Mikey Braun.

Mikey Braun
Bodriggy Brewing Company, Melbourne

What drove you to enter BACARDÍ Legacy?

For me it was about raising awareness of the hospitality industry and creating unity. I saw BACARDÍ Legacy as an incredible platform to help me deliver this message based on the global success stories I’ve follow over the past years. In my opinion, through my hospitality career, BACARDÍ has been a fantastic supporter of it’s industry workers both behind the bar as well as the guests that enjoy our cocktails. I’ve actually entered Legacy before in Australia as well in other countries I’ve lived in. I’m thrilled to have made it to the Top 3 this year with a cocktail I am so passionate about.

Tell me more about the Legacy behind your cocktail?

The Collaboration Cocktail essentially pays homage to every bartender far and wide and also showcases two categories of the industry that I love: cocktails and beer. My Legacy drink also allows each individual bartender to bring an element of individuality the drink while the essence of the cocktail remains. How? Through the beer. Not every bar will have the same beer in their bar or have may have a personal preference. It’s kind of how a Daiquiri can taste slightly different bar to bar based on lime, sugar, ice, etc. Regardless, BACARDÍ’s funky tropical characteristic works brilliantly with an IPA… trust me I’ve tried with many different beers to test this out!

What inspires you when creating cocktails for both your bar and competitions?

Personality, stories and awareness (when possible)… although awareness can be bringing education to my guests about new products, categories, techniques.. But also make sure it tastes good!

What’s next for you in the hospitality industry?

I’m actually pretty new to something at the moment! I’m the bar manager at Bodriggy Brew Pub in Abbotsford down in Melbourne where I get to have the opportunity to learn from the brewers and about their production methods as well as combining my cocktail creation skill as well. It’s more than just a bar in a brewery and that’s super exciting! In saying that though it is always important to look forward and maybe Legacy will lead to something amazing in the near future.

For newcomers to the industry what tips and tricks do you have?

Be passionate and believe in what you are showcasing! Remember that every situation is an opportunity to learn. Your passion and creativity should represent what you stand true to and never give up. No matter how many times you get knocked down, it’s hard work that will always pay off. Trust me, I’ve seen my fair share of highs and low… many lows. That’s what the underlying inspiration behind The Collaboration Cocktail is about.  

The Collaboration Cocktail
Print Recipe

The Collaboration Cocktail

  1. Add all ingredients to shaker, ice and hard shake.
  2. Double strain into tumbler over ice.
  3. Garnish with a passionfruit cheek.

Recipe by Mikey Braun.

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