Eric van Beek crowned 2018 Bacardí Legacy champion

Eric van Beek of the Netherlands has been crowned 2018 Bacardí Legacy champion in Mexico with his Cariño cocktail.

Van Beek, of Bar TwentySeven in Amsterdam, beat seven other bartenders at the grand final held in Mexico City on Tuesday evening.

Australia’s James Irvine and Mexico’s Ana Alicia Herrara came joint runners up and van Beek’s cocktail, Cariño consisted of Bacardí Reserva Ocho, yellow chartreuse, greek yoghurt, vanilla syrup and lemon juice.

“I can’t believe I won and that I’m now in the realms of past champions like Shingo Gokan, Gn Chan, Tom Walker, it’s life changing,” said van Beek.

“It means so much that my Dad was here to see it and the judges and audience received the message of Cariño, which is the most important thing.”

Each of the 34 bartenders who competed in the global finals where champions of their country’s local heats, meaning they were invited to Mexico to participate in the semi-final heats.

From here, eight bartenders were chosen by a panel of judges to compete in the grand final in the Museo Numismatico Nacional, down town Mexico City.

The judging panel for the grand final consisted of bartenders Alex Kratena, Ivy Mix and 2017 champion Ran Van Ongevalle, and Bacardí maestros José Sanchez Gavito and Juan Piñera Guevara.

Mix, of Leyenda bar in New York, said: “Van Beek was my number one choice. There was a clear divide with the top four but it was close between first and second place, and third and fourth.

“He (van Beek) has this really genuine way of resonating kindness when he presents, I would really love to sit at his bar, I was very impressed.

“I’m also happy to see a woman in the top three and this can send a message to encourage others to enter next year.

“I really think that Australia and the Netherlands were fantastic and Australia’s drink was phenomenal, it was the kind of drink that I would serve in my bar.”

Irvine’s Bocado cocktail, representing Australia, consisted of Bacardí Reserva Ocho, creme de bananas liqueur, Noilly Prat, Palo Cortado sherry and rosemary oil.

In addition to the competition, Japanese bartender, Akira Abe proposed to his girlfriend at the end of his presentation in the grand final, in front of a live audience of more than 300 guests and an online reception of around 100,000 people through Chinese livestream team SHAKEit.

The aim of the competition is to find a drink which can ‘create a legacy’ and gain the reputation of cocktails such as the Daiquiri or Old Cuban.

Bacardí will now work with van Beek for the next 12 months to establish Cariño around the world and build his personal profile amongst the bartender community.