The Bacardi Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year 2014 event has crowned Liisi Kutt from Tallink Silja Line in Estonia as the winner. Now in its ninth year, the competition includes bartenders from the major cruise lines accepting the challenge in creating their own special infusion to reflect how travel has inspired their personal style of cocktail making, featuring Bacardi brands.
With the finale taking place on Miami Beach, this year’s winner Liisi Kutt usually sails between Tallinn and Stockholm on two day cruises.
Before moving into bartending, she started her career as a chef and then took to the seas as a photographer. “I have the best bar tending job in the world, I love blending and harmonizing flavors to bring out the essential elements of the spirits and of course to engage with my guests, introducing them to new drinking experiences,” she said in a prepared statement.
Kutt’s winning cocktail Summer Fairy is a blend of Bacardi Grand Melon, Martini Prosecco, apple juice, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. The inspiration for the recipe came from her position looking out on the calm summer seas of the Baltic with a perfect soundtrack in the background from the live band playing in the bar. She added: “Summer Fairy is all about being in that magical moment where summer meets nature and you find yourself lost in time.
“Coming to compete in Miami for the Bacardi Cruise Competition has been an amazing experience and getting to spend time with some truly great cocktail experts like Julio Cabrera – the head bartender at one of Miami’s top bars, The Regent Cocktail Club, who also won the 2013 USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, sponsored by GQ Magazine and Bombay Sapphire Gin – and actually have him judge my cocktail personally and spend time with me to give a really useful critique is something I never dreamt of. Also Bacardi’s Global Brand Ambassador Marc Plumridge has enabled me to learn so much about the brands and the techniques involved in making a truly great cocktail that I can’t wait to go back and put into practice in my bar.”
Kutt spent the weekend in Miami before flying to Las Vegas to join North America’s most elite bartenders to compete in the quarterfinals of the 2014 USBG Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, sponsored by GQ Magazine and Bombay Sapphire Gin.
The other finalists were: Carnival’s Ioana Luncean, Brian Bent and Vera Restarovic, with Norwegian’s Joeped Garrido and Allan Garcia completing the six finalists.