New York’s Shingo Gokan tops a field of 26 of the world’s best bartenders to win this year’s Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition.
United States Bartender Shingo Gokan from New York City is the winner of the 2012 BACARDI Global Legacy Cocktail Competition (BGLCC) hosted by BACARDI. Gokan emerged from a field of 26 international bartenders to compete against eight finalists in a spectacular finale which took place at the BACARDI distillery near San Juan, Puerto Rico. His elegant cocktail “Speak Low” won the top prize.
Gokan, who was overwhelmed with emotion following his selection as winner said “this is the best week I’ve ever had, this is the best night I ever had, thank you so much.”
He was the final competitor of the night and he left the audience in tears as he shared his personal story of not being able to return to his friends and family at home in Japan when the earthquake struck in 2011. His drink and its presentation were inspired by his grandmother’s Japanese tea ceremony.
“It was everything about Shingo, the simplicity of the drink, his abilities behind the bar and his emotional connection with the audience, he made us all cry,” said BACARDI Global brand ambassador David Cordoba.
Gokan completed his cocktail with just 15 seconds left in the allocated ten minutes, and in a gesture symbolic of the camaraderie among bartenders in the competition, his fellow competitors leapt up to help him clear his bar so he wouldn’t be penalized for exceeding the time limit. As part of his prize Gokan will visit the BACARDI distillery in Mexico, as well as travel to five different countries to present his drink.
The competition was judged by an international panel of industry influentials including two BACARDI master blenders, Maestro de Ron, Jose Sanchez Gavito and Maestro de Ron, Luis Planas. They were joined by BACARDI Global Brand Ambassador David Cordoba, ‘Ambassador of Aloha’ Stanislav Vdrna and 2011 BGLCC winner, Marc Bonneton of France.
“Speak Low,” Gokan’s legacy cocktail, will now sit alongside some truly iconic drinks like the Original BACARDI Cuba Libre, Original BACARDI Daiquiri and the Authentic Mojito Cocktail. Winning the BGLCC is the chance of a lifetime for the bartender. Last year’s winner, Marc Bonneton of France, understands more than anyone the significance of being the best from thousands of entries, “It’s a big competition and it means a lot to win,” said Bonneton.
The eight finalists were whittled down from a group of 26 truly talented bartenders from around the world who spent a week in Puerto Rico learning about the history of BACARDI rum, visiting the BACARDI Rum Distillery in Catano, Puerto Rico, sharing their skills and techniques with fellow mixologists, and learning bartending philosophies and expertise from some of the industry’s most influential tastemakers.
This year’s competition is part of global celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Bacardi and its legendary BACARDI rum. Throughout 2012, the family-owned company will commemorate this historical landmark with a series of one-of-a-kind parties and special promotions.
‘Speak Low’ Cocktail
1 part BACARDI Superior Rum
1 part BACARDI Solera Rum
1/2 part Osborne Pedro Ximinez Sherry
1 tsp Matcha tea and zest of yuzu fruit
Mix the BACARDI Superior rum and Matcha tea with a Matcha whisk in a glass tumbler. Strain into a shaker and add BACARDI Solera and the sherry. Hard shake and double strain into old fashioned cocktail glass. Spray of yuzu zest on the top.