Gokan from New York won with his drink ‘Speak Low’. Gokan was chosen from eight finalists from around the world in a competiton which took place at the Bacardi distillery near San Juan, Puerto Rico. Gokan said: “This is the best week I’ve ever had, this is the best night I ever had, thank you so much.”
Gokan was the final competitor of the night and is said to have left the audience ‘in tears’ as he shared his personal story of not being able to return to his friends and family at home in Japan when the earthquake struck in 2011. His drink and its presentation were inspired by his grandmother’s Japanese tea ceremony.
Bacardi global brand ambassador David Cordoba said: “It was everything about Shingo, the simplicity of the drink, his abilities behind the bar and his emotional connection with the audience.”
As part of his prize, Gokan will visit the Bacardi distillery in Mexico as well as travel to five different countries to present his drink.
The competition was judged by an international panel including two Bacardi master blenders Jose Sanchez Gavito and Luis Planas. They were joined by David Cordoba, ‘Ambassador of Aloha’ Stanislav Vdrna and 2011 BGLCC winner, Marc Bonneton of France.
The eight were 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 Cataño where it is crafted, sharing their skills and techniques with fellow mixologists, and learning bartending philosophies from experts.
This year’s competition is part of global celebrations marking the 150th anniversary.
1oz Bacardi Superior rum
1oz Bacardi Solera rum
Half oz Osbourne Pedro Ximinez sherry
1 tsp matcha (green tea) and zest of yuzu
Method: Mix the Bacardi Superior and matcha with a chasen matcha whisk (tea whisk) in a glass tumbler. Strain into a shaker and add Bacardi Solera and sherry. Hard shake and double strain into an old fashioned glass and spray yuzu zest on the top.