Event, Melbourne

One more night for this pearl



I’ll be the first to admit, I’m late to the party on this one.

For the past six days the crew at Black Pearl have been part of a collaboration with Bacardi, leading up to tonight’s Legacy Cocktail competition final.

What it means for you is a list of 10 Bacardi cocktails, including Fred Siggins’ excellent Empire of Dreams, are up for grabs from one of the most talented bar teams in the country.


Get down there tonight to try some of these great drinks and stick around for the party when the Australian winner of tonights Legacy comp is announced.


In case you’ve never been, the Black Pearl can be found on Brunswick St in Fitzroy, number 305.IMG_5890 IMG_5893 IMG_5902


Facundo Profundo

facundobacardiThe sugar spirit supremos amongst you will have already caught this news, but a few in the lucky country may have missed that Bacardi chose to memorialise the transition of two of their ambassadorial sons, Jeremy Shipley and Martin Newell, with a spectacularly distilled and designed set of rums.

The fame and following of these two special individuals notwithstanding, the line was commissioned for the Cataln progeny of bricklayers, one Don Facundo Bacardi Massó. Escaping from Stiges to Cuba, Facundo established and grew the Bacardi brand from obscurity to lay the foundations of one of the most recognisable alcoholic products on earth. It’s a nice piece of symmetry too, that the current controller of the company also bears the name Facundo Bacardi.

What they’ve bought to market are a suite of four rums, set to elevate the category and help brand loyalists ladder up into the lofty heights now on offer.

Details are a touch thin, as they’re not on offer yet in Australia and I won’t speak to taste until I’ve had lips on the product myself, prices are RRP in US dollars, expect to pay more if they come to Australia.

Here’s what I’ve been able to glean. Neo ($45) is an up-to-eight year old white rum, more oak and complexity than the Bacardi you’re used to. Next is Eximo ($60) an American Oak finished rum with an up to 10 years age claim. Exquisito ($90 steps things up again with 7-23 year old rums blended and finished in sherry casks. At the top of the mountain is Paraiso ($250) 23 yr old rums from the family reserve, blended and finished in ex-Cognac barrels.

They do sound delicious. I hope we get some downunder soon.


Bacardi Legacy: 5 most promising in Australia

legacyGreat to see Bacardi bringing their global comp to Antipodean shores, with the countries top 25 contestans being whittled down to five for a shot at glory and a trip to Mother Russia.

David Nguyen-Luu, Fred Siggins, James Irvine, Marco Nunes, and Niall Maurici were selected from the 25 shortlisted semi-finalists in a search for five incredible cocktails able to emulate the legacy of great drinks like the Original BACARDÍ Daiquiri and the Original BACARDÍ Mojito.

One of the greatest aspects of the Bacardi Legacy competition, aside from its presence in Australia and New Zealand, is the focus on creating a drink that has the potential to be a classic. While it could be all brand wank, the drinks that have won are usually simple, balanced and clean.

Like many comps these days, they’ve added a commercial element to this one. With the top five each getting $5k to market their offers, hopefully we’ll see some innovation here too. Get in before March to try them out.

Fred 1 LR

1. David Nguyen-Luu from Rockpool Bar & Grill – Perth
2. Fred Siggins from Black Pearl – Melbourne
3. James Irvine from Hinky Dinks – Sydney
4. Marco Nunes from Papa Jack’s – Brisbane
5. Niall Maurici from IXL Long Bar – Hobart

The finals are in Sydney on the 4th of March, with the winner winging his way to Moscow for the global final.


Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2013

If there are three things that are true about cocktail contests around the world, it’s that not enough are held on beautiful rum producing islands, the drinks that win are far beyond the average home enthusiast’s ability to produce and that nowhere near enough are won by the talented women working behind bars around the globe.

Kudos then, to the Barcardi Legacy Cocktail comp, for rectifying these three in one fell swoop.

Check the video above, and go and buy some Cynar (seriously, why not name non marque products and make it easier for everyone) and Grenadine and get amongst.

by Elizaveta Evdokimova, Russia

1 1/2 parts Bacardi Superior
2/3 part artichoke liqueur
1/3 part pomegranate liqueur
1/6 part simple syrup

Stir with ice, and strain into small tumbler over block ice. Garnish with a twist of ‘pomegranate leather’.922811_125885490938862_1621424125_n


uber fast mojitos tomorrow night

fast mojitoBacardi and Uber Bartools are throwing their weight behind a massive attempt at a world record tomorrow night in Sydney.

Jonathan Coates is going to try and smash out more mojitos than any man ever has before in a single hour. There’s 126 litres of Bacardi, 75 litres of soda water, 160 kilos of limes (not cheap at this time of year) and 95 kilos of mint. No mention of sugar in the press release, but there’ll be a mini mountain of it on hand.

If this follows in the footsteps of the last few responsible serve events I’ve been to with 30mls in each drink, there’ll be 4200 beverages knocked out in an hour. At a more generous 90ml serve per glass there’ll still be 23 drinks a minute crossing the bar. Even Luke Reddington would have to admit that’s pretty quick.

Anyway, tomorrow night, No Vacancy at 12 Kellet St, Kings Cross. The record will be set between eleven and midnight. I’d suggest there might be a few mojitos being passed around the bar.


Advertising, At home

Some guy making a Daiquiri

You won’t be able to tell from watching the video, but this is my good mate Marty Newell, Melburnian brand ambassador for the most superior Superior Rum on Earth, Bacardi.

It’s a nice bit of vision, and an easily followable recipe for one of life exquisite little pleasures, a well made Daiquiri.

Nice work buddy.


David Cordoba has a pretty sweet gig

David Cordoba is the global ambassador for Bacardi. He mixes a pretty sweet daiquiri, knows most of the brand lore and is happiest when is getting a chance to share it.

It looks like now he has been given some budget and a video camera to go and explore the parts of the brand he doesn’t yet have encyclopaedic knowledge of.

Check out this little piece of true originals content and learn a little bit about where the Bacardi story really begins.


Sesquicentennial Bitches

150 years is a long time to have been doing anything.  As such, hat tip to the familia Bacardi and their efforts in the distillation, distribution and consumption of rum. Their rum is sold in more than 150 countries around the globe these days. Here’s a bit of brand wank which puts some ridiculously large numbers around what the brand has achieved:


The family has chosen to mark this auspicious day with the limited release of Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron MMXII.

It’s $2,000 a bottle, and there are only 400 of them going on sale around the world, plus whatever they keep back for family occasions and to keep the brand’s ambassadors motivated. For your hard earned cash you’ll get just 500mls of a maple coloured liquid that represents the finest Bacardi production in existence.

Aged up to 20yrs and then finished in 60yr old ex-Cognac barrels, the resulting liquid expertly crafted by eight family blenders.

Tasting notes, and further details just seem a wee bit hard to come by at present but a 20+ year aging the heat of the Caribbean is sure to have delivered an epic result. Update: a few quiet drinks with Enrique Comas has yielded that the heart of the 600 litres of this spirit that were produced were one 12 yr old barrel that had been mistakenly left in the Solera and a mystery barrel that used the old numbering system but was improperly dated and, as such, must be at least 10 years old, maybe more. This then is a true vintage product. As its inputs were a mystery, it can never be reproduced.

Anyone who hasn’t had enough Bacardi from this article can go here, and drink from the fire hydrant.

Cocktail, Competitions

A Modern Classic

I wrote a couple of weeks back about the True Originals campaign from Bacardi and the Global Legacy Cocktail Competition that hung off the back of it.

Well, the first contest has wrapped in Barcelona and the gorgeous looking drink in the photo above is the winning drink. It’s a rethink of the Ramos Gin Fizz, swapping gin for rum and orange blossom water for something deliciously herbal and made by monks.

Marco’s Bacardi Fizz
by Marc Bonneton

50ml Bacardi Superior rum
40ml Cream
15ml Green Chartreuse
15ml Lemon Juice
15ml Lime Juice
15ml Simple Syrup
1 egg white
Top with soda water
Mint sprig for garnish

Dry-shake the egg white in a shaker with no ice, then add all the other ingredients and ice and shake for a long time to emulsify to egg white and the cream. Fine-strain into a tall glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Hat Tip Camper English at Alcademics, who actually was on the ground in Spain watching it all unfold.


Truly Original

I have written a number of times about the Bacardi True Originals campaign that had manifested itself in some quite compelling, standout video content featuring three characters and perhaps the most incredibly smooth flair bartender that has been seen on this green earth.

Another piece of the puzzle dropped into place a few days ago. The campaign now has a website. www.trueoriginals.com 

It is a facebook connected community site, complete with game theory badges for members to unlock by growing the community, interacting with content and contributing their own. The technology is rather impressive, but so was the technology behind the Groove Armada record release which signaled a great degree of focus from the brand in breaking into the digital space in a meaningful way.

True Originals feels as though it has a great chance of succeeding. Engaging, as it does, the most interested part of their brands audience. Bartenders, and the odd hanger on like me, are rewarded with some quite striking and innovative content. Check out the video above, it represents a significant change from the established front on bar shoots made famous by the american bar school, and emulated by many since…

The quality of the content, the decision to keep the videos unlisted, the use of facebook (already the default way most in the global bartending community keep in touch) to spread and control accounts all point to success for this as an idea. Couple this digital environment with the Legacy Cocktail Competition and a set of engraved bar kits that look really stunning and it all adds up to a bold move that should by all accounts succeed.

Get on there and check it out.


A dash more insight into the True Originals campaign from Bacardi

I saw this turn up in the thread that followed DigiBuzz, an Australian Digi marketing blogger tearing down the holes in the campaign and the utterly bad ROI. It prompted a response on one of the crew responsible:

Graham Hodge Says:
August 3rd, 2010 at 9:51 pm

May I offer a few words in defence of Bacardi? I feel I have a valid point-of-view having proposed, developed, launched and run this programme for Bacardi.

Weirdly, I pretty well agree with everything you say Aden (especially the bit about the films being “fantastic” and “amazing” – thanks for that!). Judged by the standards of consumer campaigns, it’s a fail. We used hardly any of the usual tricks you can deploy to reach as many as people as possible and achieve the holy grail of “going viral”.

But that wasn’t the objective. The objective was to engage the global community of professional mixologists with some really cool content that highlighted Bacardi’s role in the genesis of many of the world’s favourite cocktails.

Top-tier bartenders use Facebook – a lot. We wanted to create a home for the content that didn’t require the audience to go into the usual Bacardi enivronment. (You’ll notice that the films are barely branded – that’s the real innovation here.) Facebook fitted the bill.

We have also been working with some influential cocktail bloggers (e.g.http://www.adashofbitters.com, http://www.mixology.eu) and premiered the most recent film at Tales Of The Cocktail, a trade-show in New Orleans where pretty well all of the world’s top bartenders gather. Facebook and YouTube were just two of the channels we used to reach that audience, not the end in itself.

As for ROI, given the objective and the audience, we think 60,000 views and 1,000 fans are great results – though not as great as the comments we’ve had from some of the world’s most highly regarded bartenders.

But the real ROI comes when you, a consumer, order a Cuba Libre at your favourite bar, and the bartender tells you that Bacardi was the rum used in the first Cuba Libre ever made, back in 1900, and that you should really think about having that Cuba Libre with Bacardi, not Havana Club.

Now, is there an opportunity to evolve this project for a larger audience? Of course there is, and all of your suggestions are 100% valid (watch this space for a competition — but again, it’s very targeted!). But for the time being, this initiative is for bartenders, and isn’t one of the great things about the Internet that it enables communities – of any size – to come together and share stuff they care about?

I’m not sure how a video targetted at bartenders is going to get a consumer to ask for a cuba libre, and while the Mojito, Daiquiri, Pina Colada and the Cuba Libre are all Bacardi “Originals” there isn’t a lot in the way of story in addition to tell these little facts.

Maybe it’s like Tom Cruise said in Cocktail, “Why didn’t you just tell me it was a rum and coke?’ a sentiment that is backed up by this 1984 print ad.


True Originals #4

Another chapter in the Bacardi campaign has launched. This time the classic is twisted by a flair tender, Nicholas St.Jean in a bar with a hidden entry, PDT styles.

The content has sparked discussion around the world with the spin the bottle or nots coming out to voice their opinions as the only ones worth hearing. I have hated flair more than I’ve loved it, standing at a packed bar waiting to have you order taken while some cock flings a bottle and sets the bar on fire has turned me off more than a couple of places, but I have to say, in a hidden speakeasy, where flair is show for you individual drink and there are not 100 others queued up waiting, that might just work.

Not too sure about the more than regulation pour though, doesn’t seem all that responsible…


Win this Book!

Yes, that is a first edition Savoy Cocktail Book. If you could find one for sale you’d be looking at spending about three hundred and fifty of Her Majesty’s quid to secure it. This one is a bit more special than that, signed by the master of the Savoy himself, Mr. Harry Craddock. After retiring from a life behind the bar at the age 0f 74 in 1947, with more than 250 original recipes under his belt , Harry, quite unfortunately, did not go on to live to the ripe old age of 137 and as such, it is quite literally impossible to get any more signed copies of his book, despite what Tony Robbins might say.

To go in for a chance to win this fabulous piece of Cocktail history you need to visit the Bacardi sponsored True Originals facebook page and post a twist on the classic Mojito. If you need further inspiration watch the Apothecary making his here.

The prize booty also includes a Yarai seamless Japanese mixing glass and a spoon to twirl within it.

This new campaign to hero the classics and the bartenders who are inspired by them seems to very much on the money, if the prize is anything to go by. Only 115 people “like” the page so far, so your chances of winning are pretty good at the moment.

Oh, you’ve only got ten days to enter, the contest closes on the 28th of May.

Advertising, Industry News

And now, for something a little different

Bacardi have had a long history of producing advertising that appeals to a mass market. From their days in the fold of David Ogilvy until the more recent muddling the shit out of the Mojito in Miami, the direction has always been more about the consumer than the craft.

These, then, represent a pretty substantial step away (or towards, depending on where you sit) from the light. With slick, beautiful drinks being presented in modern bar environments. I’ve also heard tell of a third one featuring a Brit making a Mojito for the mystery guest. I’ll keep my ears to the ground for that one.

These three ads cover the main types of great cocktail experiences that are talked about currently. The Samurai could be in any standing bar in Tokyo, or indeed much of Japan, his holds, pours and cuts exemplify the Japanese style. I could only really fault the eye contact and the lack of a double strain. The Hummingbird is a very Miami style setting, and while I’m sure some will fault her for tasting the drink openly, behind her bar, I think it works. The third movie, is meant to be set in a more intimate bar where cocktails are worked out of the ether using new combinations and amazing ingredients. Think Jim Meehan in PDT, the boys at Milk & Honey or Sydney’s Eau de Vie.

I’d love to think that this was part of some larger effort, where true originals are going to picked out from around the world and invited to the private Bacardi Island for the most amazing contest the world has ever seen. I’m happy to put my hand up to be the mysterious stranger, just in case Facundo Bacardi or Seamus McBride find this at the end of a Google Alert.

Travelling the world, handing out golden (well, red and black) tickets sounds like my kind of gig.

Cocktail, MixMarch, New Zealand

MixMarch #24: Whoop It Up

Simon Difford had pulled together one of the most comprehensive websites in the world, Difford’s Guide. He also publishes Class Magazine. To top it all off he loves a Daiquiri. He talked yesterday at Cocktail World Cup and made a few drinks. This was one of them, You might have to wait just a moment to make it, as Simon’s Bitters are not yet in General availability, but hold tight, they’re on their way…

The Whoop It Up

30mls Bacardi, 30mls 42Below Manuka Honey Vodka, 15mls Benedictine, 7.5mls Canton Ginger Liqueur, 15mls Lemon Juice, 3 dashes Diffords Daiquiri Bitters. Shake, strain and serve up.

Whoop, Whoop!


Arrrrrgh, Rum Pirates.

Wharrrr, there’s trouble brewing down the Spanish Main.

Her Majesty’s Privateers, Diageo, today released a 13 page document detailing the dogged dealings of the Miami-Cuban Pirate conglomerate, Bacardi. Apparently, the Puerto Rican rummies have been trying to scupper Diageo’s moves to take Captain Morgan from the aforementioned quasi-state to the calm and defensible tax haven of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Forty-fourth American President, Barack Obama has dispatched treasure ships to ensure that production of intoxicating liquors is not diminished, despite stormy conditions in the Economi Americas. By pushing the Privateers out of U.S. Sovereign territory, bot Bacardi and the Protectorate of Puerto Rico stand to reap ‘huge government subsidies’.

Bacardi is described as being ‘in league’ with the Governor of Puerto Rico and there are rumours about night moves regarding his daughter. Paul ‘Speake No Evil’ Rodriguez, a spokesman for San Juan-based Bacardi, had no comment to make on the matter.

I suppose that just in case there are any lawyers reading this, I had better include the original wire release for balance as well. I like mine better though, everything goes better with a few more pirates.


by. Ryan J. Donmoyer

Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) — Diageo Plc, the world’s biggest liquor distiller, accused rival Bacardi Corp. of “working behind the scenes” to sabotage tax incentives Diageo would receive for moving production of Captain Morgan rum to the U.S. Virgin Islands from Puerto Rico.

London-based Diageo, in a 13-page press release, said Bacardi is lobbying to kill Diageo’s deal to move production of the rum to St. Croix. If the agreement collapsed and Diageo were forced to move outside the U.S., Bacardi and Puerto Rico would stand to reap “huge government subsidies” under a federal tax program, Diageo said.

Bacardi, “which received tens of millions of dollars a year in annual government rum subsidies, has made a calculated decision to try to drive a competitor out of the United States even though it would be a disaster for the U.S. citizens of the Virgin Islands,” Guy Smith, executive vice president of Diageo North America, said in the release.

Diageo stands to receive as much as $2.7 billion in direct and indirect U.S. tax incentives by producing Captain Morgan rum on St. Croix under an agreement with the U.S. Virgin Islands government. The tax incentives were approved last year as part of a broader rescue of the financial system. The provision expired Dec. 31 and the U.S. Senate may consider extending it this week.

Paul Rodriguez, a spokesman for San Juan-based Bacardi, which has the world’s best-selling rum brand according to Euromonitor International Plc, which tracks such information, said he didn’t immediately have a comment.


More Cuban than the Cubans

It’s Bacardi Founders Day today, the birthday of the world’s largest family owned spirits company. Staff and friends of the brand will be breaking out the rum and the cigars and you should too!

Celebrate the only brand to show its love for animals by having them on the bottle, the innovation that borrowed the Solera aging system from the court sherries and bought them to the new world, The family that allegedly financed a private bombing run on the Cuban mainland, the marketing genius of Mr Ogilvy and his still professed love for the Puerto Rican Rum.

Anyway, if any of you feel like celebrating one of the original spirits houses on their day of days, I’d recommend the hand shaken daiquiri, a drink that was truly invented for the bottle with the bat. 3 parts Bacardi, 1 part lime and 1/2 sugar. Combine in a shaker, ice and shake like you’re being chased out of Cuba. There’s a video after the jump.

Continue reading


Bacardi Reserva Limitada

bacardireservalimitadaIf you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of a good story and an even bigger fan of using special products to promote a brand.

Last night at the Sydney Rum Club, the boys from Bacardi bought along something that’s pretty special. Bacardi Reserva Limitada.

This rum is the jewel in the crown of Bacardi’s rum empire. Aged rums are blended after as many as 16 years languishing in the Caribbean sun, the result is a rum not quite as robust as Bacardi 8, and not quite as smooth as Ron Zacapa Centenario XO. Reserva Limitada wins the race in terms of how fine a spirit it is. Subtle, with nary a trace of heads nor tails, Bacardi’s masterpiece is comparable to a cognac or a great grappa, it is distillation at it’s finest.

Where can I buy a bottle? I hear your say. This wonderful rum is only available at two locations (although the guys from Bacardi Lion claimed only one.) Both are are fair trek from this, the Lucky Country. Your options are  (1) The Bacardi Distillery in Puerto Rico and (2) The Bacardi Store in Nassau. You will save yourself a whole 5 bucks if you’re in the Bahamas.

I think it’s going to be a while between drinks on this one. I’d love to try it in an old fashioned with some Fee Brothers orange bitters.

Sydney, Training

Rum Club Redux

BacardiLast night at the Eden Bar and Restaurant in Martin Place, the Sydney Rum Club gathered for a tasting of the Bacardi portfolio. After a refreshing Mojito made by Bacardi Ambassadors’ Jeremy Shipley and Loy Catada.

After a short and somewhat informative presentation on the history of the brand and the innovations Bacardi bought to the rum industry (parallel process, where two base rums are produced at the same time and blended; charcoal filtration, to smooth the rough edges of the Devils Kin; La Levadura, the use of a specific yeast to ferment the blackstrap and water mash & deliberate aging, to add character, body and a smooth finish to the product.) it was time to drink the sweet, sweet liquor.

Starting with Carta Blanca (the famous white rum; banana, almonds and icing sugar on the nose; brunt wheat and vanilla on the palate with a smooth finish,) followed by Bacardi Oro (a gold/yellow rum; green banana’s on the nose; orange peely to taste and a warmer finish,) next came Bacardi Black (a brown/black rum; raisins and paint on the nose; rich caramel to taste running into a smooth finish,) next up was Bacardi 8 (a rich brown/amber rum with a nose to match, the 8 is smooth in taste and finish, perfect in old school cocktails like the old fashioned and smooth enough to drink on its own,) the penultimate selection was Bacardi Limon (clear, flavoured spirit not legally allowed to be called rum in Australia, macerated lemons give the spirit a heady zest, sweetening the final product to an almost liqueur like consistency.) The last rum in the tasting was Bacardi Reserva Limitada. This one was so good, it’s getting it’s own post.

The evening wrapped up with the announcement of the winner of the naming competition for the Rum Club’s barrel. Astonishingly, I carried off the win, a share of the barrel and a Rum cocktail experience at Eden. In 12 months time, the Governor’s Downfall will be ready, bottle with the owners name and serial number. There is enough rum for 33 bottles, and there are still a few left. $50 and a visit to Eden would probably secure you one, or you could email info@edenbarandrestaurant.com.au and make your case.

A quick hand shaken Bacardi Daiquiri and I was out the door before 9pm. A really enjoyable night, highly recommended.