Making a Stir

In the latest of our articles on the next cocktails to make a stir in the bar world,  World’s 50 Best Bars editor Hamish Smith catches up with Imperial Craft owner Bar Shira, who has entered his drink, 'El Camello...Loco', into Bacardi Legacy 2016.


HS: What’s the spec, Bar?


45ml Bacardi Carta Blanca

30ml Martini Rosso

30ml Lime juice

20ml Simple syrup (1:1)

90ml Lager

Method: Build in a Collins glass over ice, stir and garnish with a lemon peel.


HS:  So, tell me the thinking behind 'El Camello...Loco'

BS: The goal of Bacardi Legacy is to create the next big and popular drink.  When analysing classic drinks and bartender habits I realised for a drink to become popular it needs to be really simple, as bartenders are a lazy species - anything that would make their lives more difficult would dramatically decrease the chances of them trying, serving or recommending the drink.

In order to become popular this drink need not only be served in craft cocktail bars but also in pubs, cafes and clubs. Also, as a bar owner, I realise that cost and availability are a factor. If the drink uses expensive or hard-to-get ingredients I wouldn’t have any incentive to sell it.

So I decided to create an easy-to-make, cheap, fast and efficient drink, made from ingredients available in every bar on the planet.

HS: Simple and re-creatable  - got it. So how did you choose the ingredients?

BS: I looked to recent history for inspiration. The one thing that resonated was the warming of  Cuba-US relations this year, which led me to think about making a twist on the Cuba Libre, which is probably the drink that most symbolises relations between the two countries. However, cola is no longer such a sexy ingredient and therefore I took the idea of a long, fresh, built-in-the-glass drink and moved on.

Delving further into Bacardi's history, I saw they produced Hatuey, the most popular beer in Cuba. Its marketing campaign was to deliver every case with a block of ice so it was always served cold. This brought ice and beer into the equation, and the Chelada into mind.

Also in Bacardi's history I found that Don Facundo's wife's grandmother Clara was the financier of the original Bacardil distillery. This brought the Spanish Clara into mind (basically a shandy). I then needed a modifier - and what better modifier than Bacardi's sister brand, Martini. And so a drink was born.

HS: A drink needs a name. Do tell…

BS: It had to be one that suited me, the brand and the drink. Looking into common Cuban phrases, I immediately found the El Camello (the camel) is the name of their weird looking busses, and it is also the animal that people most associate with Israel, where I'm from.

The loco part is because drinks need to be fun again. For far too long the cocktail industry has taken itself too seriously. It became too scientific and too historical and it is about time fun came back into the picture. We are not saving lives, curing cancer or ending world hunger, we are bartenders making drinks so that people could have more fun and #goloco.