Behind the Bar Stick People

What Inspired the Bartenders in the USBG Legacy National Finals?

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All of the delicious cocktails at USBG Legacy use BACARDÍ as a base.

Only 10 American bartenders are still standing at the 2018 USBG Legacy competition. Recipes were shared from across the country, but only the most timeless, innovative and mouthwatering could move on to the national finals.

Before these bartenders compete on February 6 and the field narrows to just two, it’s worth taking a look at how these cocktail geniuses have stood out so far. Check out the 10 cocktails created by the regional winners and wild-card finalists, and discover the story behind these inspired recipes.

Who knows? One of them could win it all at the global finals in Mexico City.

Peter Hannah (Orlando)

Hannah with his original cocktail, the Amalia

Peter Hannah’s Amalia is made with BACARDÍ Ocho eight-year-old rum, Yellow Chartreuse liqueur, fresh papaya juice, honey-cinnamon syrup and fresh lime juice.

The recipe is named after the wife of Don Facundo Bacardí. The honey symbolizes her sweetness, the red papaya is a nod to her inner fire, and the rum is what holds it all together. That’s something she did for the Bacardí family during some difficult, tumultuous years. These ingredients add up to a cocktail as remarkable as the woman who inspired it.

Luis Ramos (Oakland)

Ramos poses with Bacardi Ocho rum, the base of his exceptional cocktail, the Recuerdos Míos.

Luis Ramos’ Recuerdos Míos is made with BACARDÍ Ocho rum, lime juice, pineapple gomme, maraschino cherry juice and bitters.

Ramos drew from the flavors he remembered from his childhood in Puerto Rico. He was particularly inspired by a dish his stepfather would make on Christmas: pork baked with pineapple slices, cherries and cloves. Now he has taken those striking flavors and blended them beautifully with rum in this mouthwatering cocktail.

Chris Amirault (Los Angeles)

Amirault is behind the bar with plenty of BACARDÍ rum.

Chris Amirault’s Concordia is made with BACARDÍ Carta Oro rum, lime juice, yuzu honey and coconut liqueur and garnished with shaved coconut and coffee.

Concordia is the Latin word for harmony. And that’s exactly what Amirault has achieved with this recipe. He has synthesized rum from Puerto Rico, limes from California, yuzu from Japan and coconut liqueur from Mexico into one perfectly balanced cocktail.

Chris Morris (Houston)

Morris will be representing Houston in the national finals, thanks to his original recipe, the Regalo.

Chris Morris’ Regalo is made with BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum, mango nectar, simple syrup, basil leaves and Champagne.

Regalo means “gift” in Spanish. The drink is his gift to all of the people who made it possible for him to pursue his passion: bartending. It’s equal parts refreshing and complex and meant to be enjoyed with friends.

Luis Hernandez (New York City)

Hernandez serves his winning recipe, the Muse.

Luis Hernandez’s Muse is made with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Ocho rum, Angostura bitters, pineapple juice, cane syrup and lemon juice.

Every ingredient in the New York bartender’s recipe is inspired by family. That means the family he was born into, the family of bartenders where he works and the Bacardí family. Each part contributes something absolutely essential to his complex, delicious cocktail.

Megan Radke (Seattle)

Radke with a bottle of BACARDÍ Ocho rum following her regional victory

Megan Radke’s Tin Goose is made with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Ocho rum, banana shrub, lime juice, Angostura bitters and allspice dram.

The Seattle bartender was inspired by the fearlessness of Don Facundo Bacardí and other rum pioneers. She followed their example by creating something bold and revolutionary. The result is a breathtaking cocktail that packs flavor both highly original and completely timeless.

French Scotty Marshall (Washington, D.C.)

Washington, D.C.’s Marshall with his standout cocktail, the Coki Beach

French Scotty Marshall’s Coki Beach is made with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Ocho rum, toasted coconut syrup, lime juice and allspice dram.

Marshall was born in on Saint Thomas during a category 5 hurricane. His cocktail was named after his local beach. Even though he eventually left his home country, just as the Bacardí family left Cuba, he still wants to pay tribute to his island roots. This subtly tropical masterpiece does all that and more.

Marlowe Johnson (Detroit)

Johnson with a bottle of BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum, fresh off his victory at the Chicago regional

Johnson’s Silverhand is made with BACARDÍ Carta Blanca rum, vermouth, Salers aperitif, falernum syrup and orange bitters.

Daiquiris and Mojitos might win popularity contests, but Johnson has always been partial to the Palmetto. With this cocktail, he wanted to build on the unsung classic drink by adding hints of tropical flavor. This deceptively simple cocktail has the profile to stand the test of time.

Moe Isaza (Cambridge, Mass.)

Isaza with his winning Poderoso cocktail

Isaza’s Poderoso is made with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Ocho rum, bitter orange amaro, pineapple juice, coffee liqueur and lemon.

Poderoso means “powerful” in Spanish, but this exceptional cocktail isn’t named for its alcohol content. Instead, it’s a tribute to the strong people in the Cambridge bartender’s family. The recipe is bold and original and earned Isaza a wild-card spot in the Legacy finals.

Christian Suzuki (San Francisco)

Suzuki pours his winning Kagano Visage cocktail.

Suzuki’s Kagano Visage is made with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Ocho rum, plum wine, blended scotch and banana liqueur.

The San Francisco bartender won a wild-card spot in the Legacy finals with a cocktail inspired by his grandmother. It’s named after Kagano Bar in Tokyo, where she was both owner and bartender and won over customers with her genuine smile and passion. That’s the attitude Suzuki brings to each cocktail he creates.