Liisi Kütt from Tallink Silja Line has been crowned Bartender of the Year in Bacardi’s 2014 Cruise Competition.
Beating five other contestants in this year’s final, which was held at the Gale Hotel on Miami’s South Beach, Kütt scooped the title to claim a prize of US$5,000 and a trip to Las Vegas to compete in The GQ Bombay Sapphire USBG Most Imaginative Bartender – one of the most prestigious bartender competitions in North America.
Now in its ninth year, this year’s Bacardi Cruise Competition kicked off in February 2014 with competitors from the world’s leading cruise companies stepping up to the challenge of creating their own special infusion to reflect how travel has inspired their personal style of cocktail making.
The finals were judged by Marc Plumridge, Bacardi global brand ambassador, Michael Pasternak of Travel Markets Insider magazine, Colleen McDaniel of CruiseCritic.com and Julio Cabrera, head bartender at the Regent Bar in The Gale Hotel and 2013 winner of the USBG Bacardi Most Imaginative Bartender.
“This year, we’ve had tremendous support from our cruise line partners and the mutual benefits of the competition will continue to grow as we work together to create standards of excellence in a year-round programme of activities,” said Zachary Sulkes, regional manager of Bacardi Travel Retail Americas. “The finalists and, especially Liisi as the 2014 winner, are all amazing role models who inspire their colleagues and create aspirations for others to achieve the same level of professionalism. The Bacardi ambition to enhance the onboard cocktail experience for guests with positive advancements in the onboard cocktail experience.”
Kütt’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 Kütt’s memories of looking out to the calm summer seas of the Baltic with a perfect soundtrack in the background from the live band playing in the bar.