The USBG Legacy semifinalists enjoy a cocktail in beautiful Puerto Rico.
(image: Allison Webber)
There are many ways to prepare for the USBG Legacy national finals. But nothing could be better than traveling to Puerto Rico to experience the territory’s one-of-a-kind culture and most famous export: Bacardí.
The 10 American bartenders still standing in the competition met up with eight Canadian semifinalists for a trip that was as fun as it was informative.
Bartending wasn’t the only aspect of Puerto Rican nightlife the bartenders got to explore. The trip kicked off with an interactive salsa experience at La Factoría in Old San Juan. Everyone loosened up by learning some steps and enjoying a few drinks.
The bartenders get schooled on how to salsa.
Soon enough, the bartenders were out of the bar and off to explore the natural beauty of Puerto Rico. Rather than spending a day at the beach, the group went inland to tour the bat caves in Las Cabachuelas de Morovis. It was a breathtaking experience that helped illuminate why a Puerto Rican institution like Bacardí would feature a bat so prominently on its logo.
The semifinalists explore the bat caves in Las Cabachuelas de Morovis.
Local Guest, a cultural immersion group, guided the tour and brought the bartenders to Morovis, where they met with local families still reeling from the recent hurricanes that devastated Puerto Rico. The group presented the families with two new generators, continuing Bacardi’s long tradition of disaster relief.
The group presents Puerto Rican families with two new generators.
The USBG Legacy competition asks bartenders to create innovative and timeless cocktails with Bacardí, so it was only fitting that the next stop was the Bacardí distillery in Cataño. It gave them the chance to see where and how the rum is made.
Bacardí pulled out all the stops for the distillery tour. There were tasting seminars to explore the difference between rum styles and ages. The bartenders got to walk through the warehouse and see just how seriously Bacardí takes the maturation process. They even went to the production room, where the rum is bottled and labeled.
The tour let bartenders experience every stage of Bacardí production, from maturation to bottling to tasting the final product.
Inside the aging warehouse at the Bacardí distillery.
The trip wouldn’t be complete without passing along some practical information. That’s why there was an informational session to give bartenders knowledge that would help them in the USBG Legacy national finals and their career beyond the competition.
That meant giving each bartender one-on-one media training. There was a bar technique and photographing seminar to make sure everyone’s craft and presentation is top-notch.
Only two of the American bartenders on the trip will advance to the USBG Legacy global finals in Mexico City, but after this jam-packed and unforgettable trip, it’s impossible to say anyone will lose.