The finals took place in Miami in February in a live competition judged by a panel of cocktail and spirits experts, held at award-winning restaurant Alter in Miami’s hip Wynwood neighborhood.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Wade Cleophas came out on top of the 'spirited' competition, and now wears the crown of Bartender of the Year.
Wade’s winning creation is the ‘Legend Reviver’ - inspired by classic cocktails with spices reminiscent of traveling to exotic places - featuring Bacardi Ocho Anos, mixed with star anise-infused sweet vermouth, caramel/cinnamon syrup with drops of whisky barrel aged bitters and finished with a mist of Absinthe. As we like to say, 'Tastes like another!'
His perfectly presented cocktail was artistically finished off with a garnish resembling the sails of a merchant ship and the wings of the Bacardi bat.
A key element of the competition was the requirement for finalists to promote their cocktail around the world. In the three months that Wade was promoting Legend River Reviver, Norwegian sold almost 2000 servings of the specialty drink. We think that's a strong vote for Wade's creative mixology.
Wade began his bartending career over 12 years ago, starting out in his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa, progressing to work with many leading bartenders in Dubai and Miami, before joining Norwegian Cruise Line.
Wade will now move on to The Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in May in Berlin. It's a global search to find a cocktail that can stand the test of time to become a true Bacardi classic; a cocktail that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with cocktails of legends, such as heritage classics like the Daiquiri or Mojito.
In the meantime, you might be able to sidle up to the bar to taste his magic with a cocktail shaker; Wade is the Assistant Beverage Manager onboard Norwegian Escape, sailing weekly from Miami to the Caribbean.
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