Portland Cocktail Week—known colloquially in our tagger world of social media as #PDXCW—has in a very few years become an epicenter of all things craft in the cocktail world, an impressive gathering of some of the finest veterans of the bar scene (Jim Meehan, Jeff Morgenthaler, Angus Winchester, Sean Kenyon, Andy Seymour, and on and on and on) along with aspiring bar students who want to learn and develop and master their craft.
These people know how to have fun, and they are serious about it…but they are there, first and foremost, to learn. Two overarching themes define PDXCW: the first is a voracious appetite to learn their craft; the second is the burning desire to show off their skills and compete with their peers.
Along with the tightly focused educational seminars—some on mighty dry subjects the customer never has occasion to think about, but good bartenders must—there are countless competitions sponsored by numerous spirit categories and brands, usually accompanied by acclamation and high praise as well as valuable awards and trips for these aspiring craft people.
One of the bigger competitions was the BACARDÍ Legacy Cocktail Showcase, where local Portland bartenders Junior Ryan and Joe Frade were awarded a spot in the national finals slated to take place in Miami, Florida, in February 2015.
The Legacy Cocktail Showcase challenges bartenders to inspire the next generation of classic rum cocktails using BACARDĺ Superior and BACARDĺ Gold rums; drinks that may become as revered as the BACARDÍ Daiquirí and the BACARDÍ Mojito.
All the competitors were on their game and the audience of peers was impressed at the sheer level of competent, mastery level bartending and stunning creative flair on display. Since the competition was at PDXCW, Portland was proud to learn that the two finalists among this highly talented field were home-town boys.
Junior Ryan’s “Rose Parade” and Joe Frade’s “Rum Pleasure!” were deemed cocktails with Legacy potential for their balance, flavor, quality of ingredients and aesthetic appeal by a panel of judges with strong ties to the craft cocktail community.
Ryan, from the renowned Clyde Common bar in the Ace Hotel, and Frade, co-owner and bartender at The Fields Bar & Grill will join regional winners from New York and Los Angeles at the U.S. finals of the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition where they will compete for a chance to present their “legacy cocktail” in the global showcase in Sydney, Australia, in May of 2015.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in Portland and be able to drop in on these guys at work to taste their cocktails, so Bacardi has graciously released the recipes so that you can make these delicious cocktails at home. Enjoy.
Junior and Joe win Bacardi Legacy
With the star-studded pantheon of craft bartenders gathered in Portland for Portland Cocktail Week (PDXCW), just concluded, the local boys did well at the Bacardi Legacy competition. Junior Ryan (r) and Joe Frade (l) will be taking Portlandia to Miami for the finals.
Junior Ryan mixes it up
Junior Ryan is not only a top bartender, he’s an impressive competitor too. He likes nothing more than challenging his peers—and himself—to reach greater heights. With his flamboyant personality, people are often surprised that Junior crafts his cocktails with superb balance and harmony, but he is a thoroughgoing professional who knows how to put things together so they work. He’s a craftsman in all ways.
Junior celebrates the win!
Junior celebrates the win for his entry in the Bacardi Legacy Competition, the Rose Parade. The juxtaposition of tarragon and orange marmalade as flavor intensifiers was surprising and irresistible.
Here’s the recipe in case you want to make it at home (or if you’re a bartender, feature it at your bar.)
Junior Ryan – Portland
1.5 part BACARDÍ Superior
¾ part lime juice
¾ part tarragon
1 tsp orange marmalade
1 dash of angostura
¾ part brut
Shake everything but brut, add ¾ oz brut to the tin, single strain into a coupe. Tarragon garnish
Joe Frade at the bar
The always dapper Joe Frade is a natural behind the bar. The man obviously loves what he does, and always looks good doing it. Here he is mixing up his winning cocktail, a light, lively combination of Bacardi Gold with a splash of spice and a tropical flair.
Rum Pleasure from Joe Frade
Here’s the recipe for Joe Frade’s winning cocktail, the one that is taking him to Miami for the finals of the Bacardi Legacy Competition. With the exotic combination of Brazilian banana liqueur, the spicy tang of ginger ale, and the tropical touch of plaintain, it makes for tasty drink.
Joe Frade – Portland
1 part BACARDÍ Gold
½ part Banane du Bresil Liqueur
½ part Fresh Lime Juice
1 Egg White
2 part Ginger Ale
Orange Peel Zest
Method: Combine egg white, bacardi gold, lime juice, and banane du bresil liquor in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake for several minutes. Strain contents into an old fashioned glass over ice and slowly top with ginger ale. Zest orange peel over the top and garnish with a salted brûlée plantain.
Joe Frade wins it.
You can’t criticize Joe Frade for a well-earned expression of quiet but satisfied pleasure after his win at the Bacardi Legacy Competition. When you’re awarded a top slot in a competition of peers from around the world, it’s a proud moment in your professional life.
Next stop for Junior and Joe will be Miami.