Norwegian Cruise Line’s Wade Cleophas, of Cape Town, South Africa, has scooped the title of 2017 BACARDÍ Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year. The finals took place in Miami on Monday, February 13, in a live competition judged by a panel of experts from the drinks industry.
Wade’s winning creation, the ‘Legend Reviver’, was inspired by classic cocktails with spices reminiscent of traveling to exotic places. It featured BACARDÍ OCHO (8) 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. His perfectly presented cocktail was artistically finished off with a garnish resembling the sails of a merchant ship and the wings of the BACARDÍ bat.
Cleophas won out over competition from more than 2500 entries from 13 different cruise lines.
Zachary Sulkes International Key Account Manager (Cruise), Bacardi Global Travel Retail comments: “Wade’s overall presentation and cocktail execution on the night were absolutely on point and he delivered a compelling story of reviving the legend of Don Facundo Bacardi. He cleverly connected it to his own personal story of traveling from port to port to find new ingredients to enhance the key ingredient of BACARDÍ OCHO (8) ANOS.
“Wade is a perfect example of the acceleration of standards in cruise ship bar-tending over recent years and he truly deserves his place on the world stage, sharing his creation at the global finals of the BACARDÍLegacy Global Cocktail Competition in Berlin in May.”
Wade Cleophas said: “This is such an exciting time for me, and moving on to compete in the global finals means for the next year I am regarded as one of the top bartenders in the world. I’m going to use the cash prize to treat myself to a long overdue holiday, having worked non-stop for almost a year without a break. Then I’ll be back to work refreshed and ready to continue my bright future with Norwegian Cruise Line – I couldn’t be happier to be part of such an amazing company that honestly feels like my extended family.”
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, NCL sold almost 2000 serves.
“We are incredibly proud of Norwegian Cruise Line assistant beverage manager Wade Cleophas for winning the 2017 BACARDÍ Legacy Cruise Competition,” said Karl Muhlberger Vice President, Food and Beverage for Norwegian Cruise Line. “To be deemed the very best amongst 2500 cruise line applicants is a testament to Wade’s dedication to his craft and the entire beverage team at Norwegian. We are thrilled he will be representing not just Norwegian, but the entire cruise industry at the Global Finals in Berlin.”