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Bacardi announced U.S. bartender Shingo Gokan was named the winner of its second annual Global Legacy Cocktail Competition. Gokan of New York City won with his drink “Speak Low,” which was inspired by his grandmother’s Japanese tea ceremony.
Gokan was chosen from eight finalists from around the world during the competition, which took place at the Bacardi distillery near San Juan, Puerto Rico. He left the audience in tears as he shared his personal story of not being able to return to his friends and family in Japan when the earthquake struck in 2011, according to the company.
The competition was judged by an international panel, including two Bacardi master blenders, Maestro de Ron Jose Sanchez Gavito and Maestro de Ron Luis Planas. The Bacardi blenders were joined by Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador David Cordoba, ‘Ambassador of Aloha’ Stanislav Vdrna and 2011 Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition winner Marc Bonneton of France.
The eight finalists where whittled down from a group of 26 bartenders who spent a week in Puerto Rico learning about the history of Bacardi rum, visiting the distillery in Catano where it is crafted, sharing their skills and techniques with fellow mixologists and learning bartending philosophies and expertise from some of the industry’s most influential tastemakers, the company says. As part of this prize, Gokan will visit the Bacardi distillery in Mexico as well as travel to five different countries to present his drink.