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This BACARDÍ Legacy Finalist Wants to Bring the Bar and Kitchen Closer Together

Presented by BACARDÍ

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Luis Hernandez is on a mission to bring the bar and the kitchen closer together—literally and figuratively.

The New York City bartender and BACARDÍ®-sponsored 2018 USBG Legacy competition finalist has plans to open a bar there that gives employees the opportunity to learn both parts of the business and earn more equal wages across the board. In the meantime, he’s using culinary techniques to spice up his cocktails, as well as bringing spirits into his cooking.

“I try to approach building cocktails like a chef,” says Hernandez, describing how he sous-vides pineapple for one rum cocktail at the New York City bar where he works. “Whether it’s looking at ingredients first or incorporating oils into cocktails, that’s where I’m at.”

He adds, “I’m into charing foods, like the Argentine chef Francis Mallmann. I find that the flavors are reminiscent of the char on rum barrels.”

But Hernandez takes his kitchen-bar mashup a step further. For instance, he recently turned his BACARDÍ Legacy competition cocktail—a combination of BACARDÍ Ocho rum, lemon, pineapple juice, cane sugar, Angostura bitters and nutmeg—into a six-course culinary tasting menu. Dishes included banana-leaf-wrapped brisket braised with BACARDÍ Ocho; langoustine and scallop ceviche with grilled pineapple; and lemon custard with goat cheese ice cream.

As for cooking with rum, he says: “Rum is the ultimate braising material, because of its high intensity of flavor. In French cooking, you would use wine, but the high alcohol content of rum really helps.”

Overall, Hernandez is excited to get to work on his own project and where the rum category is going.

“I’m glad rum is becoming more prominent, both with the diversity of offerings and the efforts to classify it as a spirit,” he says. “Plus, there’s a push to make it environmentally and socially conscious, and I’m all for that. I want rum to be a good thing in the world.”

Locations: New York
Brands: Bacardi
Series & Type: People

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