The journey of the first Philippine representative in the Bacardi Legacy Global
Catching up with friends while enjoying a glass of your favorite cocktail has been the usual practice almost everywhere, it made each and every conversation a lot enjoyable. Knowing the story behind each cocktail drink might sound boring but to bartenders like Richie Cruz, the first Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition Philippine representative, it’s something that people should know.
“Creating a cocktail drink is not just about mixing different ingredients with alcohol, you will need to get the right amount of alcohol, spirits and flavor to get that unique taste that you want for your cocktail drink” said Cruz.
Since 2008, bartenders from different parts of the world are gathered together in one mixology competition called Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition (BLCC) – a global competition that challenge bartenders to build their own cocktail legacy by creating and promoting a new generation of refreshing and easily replicable rum cocktails that will endure to become the classics of the future.
The competition deemed as the Oscar’s for bartenders from across the globe. All champions were given the opportunity to a year-long support to further their careers by creating experiences tailored to meet their goals. Bacardi gave them opportunities to travel, work with the industry’s best of the best and serve their very own ‘Legacy’ cocktail at some of the finest bars around the world.
Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition
April 20-25,2016 – The Bacardi Legacy Cocktail competition was held in San Francisco, California. A total of 35 participants from different parts of the world competed head-to-head as they demonstrate their skills in creating unique tasting rum cocktail drinks. One of the participants is our very own kababayan, John Richelieu “Richie” Cruz, the 2015 Barcardi Legacy Cocktail Competition Champion from Café Enye in Quezon City.
Richie Cruz, the man behind the cocktail coined “El Tindero” was a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Administration in UP Diliman. After getting his degree, he worked as a bartender for different bars, hotels and cruise ships, where he developed his skills in mixology.
“Mixing and bartending has always been my passion, I always enjoy creating a different twists to every drink I create because for me, whenever you serve your drink to your customer, you also give yourself to that customer since you created that drink with love and passion” said Cruz.
Cruz also got a career in academe, he is currently a bar trainer in Holland America Line Training Center in Antipolo. Being passionate in his field, he organized different bartending competitions from 2000 to 2006.
“I believe that in our country, we lack playgrounds for bartenders who has love for the craft, we have lots of talented bartenders that are not being recognized because we have a very few competitions wherein they can showcase their talent in bartending or creating their own drink” adds Cruz.
The Legacy of El Tindero
From organizing different bartending competition, Richie took his passion to the next level. He tried joining the first BLCC here in the Philippines with his “El Tindero” drink – a cocktail drink composed of Coconut water, Muscovado, local beer, apple cider vinegar, Angostura aromatic bitters and Bacardi Carta Oro, Cruz and the his cocktail drink luckily got the spot in final round of Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition in the Philippines.
Cruz competed against Manila’s Top-notch bartenders with his signature drink “El Tindero”, in which he considered as the perfect drink to describe Filipinos.
“Every Filipino is like a Salesman or the ultimate Tindero, we are all passionate about our jobs, committed to every task, dedicated to our clients and most of all we value our families, that’s the reason we all sell ourselves to prove that we are good in our chosen field,” says Cruz
March 10, 2016 -- it was Richie’s shining moment, he was proclaimed as the first champion of the BLCC Philippines and he became the first representative of the country in the Global BLCC last April 2016.
Global Competition came and Cruz was very confident that he’s cocktail, El Tindero, has every potential to win. Unfortunately, it was GN Chan of Angel’s Share, New York, who got lucky this year. Chan’s drink, the “Venceremos” is a combination of Bacardi Carta Blanca, coconut liqueur, pineapple juice, cucumber juice, lime juice and a dash of sesame oil, Chan was also mentored by the 2012 Global BLCC Champion Shingo Gokan.
“Competing against 35 different bartenders with different nationalities made me value my craft more, it’s disappointing of course, but it didn’t discourage me to try again. My experience in BLCC made me stronger and more eager to win the global BLCC title next time I compete” concludes Cruz.
Cruz and his El Tindero may not be successful in owning the Global Bacardi Legacy title but he definitely made a legacy to the Philippine Bartending industry and to the Filipinos.
“The El tindero drink was very popular to everyone in the competition, it might not get the judges’ taste palette to win the award, we still think that it’s something that people will like to drink while having fun, we’re very happy to support Richie in his journey to perfecting his cocktail drink and also, looking forward to see him compete again.” Concludes Au Aguilar, Trade Marketing Manager of Bacardi Philippines.