Tallink Silja Line’s Torbjörn Liljehammar has won the prestigious Bacardi Bartender of the Seas 2022 competition with his cocktail Crimson Cooler.
The competition, organised by the Bacardi Cruise Team, is designed especially to recognise those who work at sea.
This year’s instalment attracted hundreds of entrants from different cruise lines, with the grand finale taking place in Barcelona.
“In my opinion, these competitions are very good for bartenders as it gives the opportunity to be creative and try something new,” said Tallink Silja Beverage Manager, Kristin Reinsoo.
“The cocktails in the grand finale were unique with their own characteristics.
“It’s good to see that the bartenders who work at sea find time to create new recipes and contribute to the cocktail world. This joy and passion were seen in the eyes of the finalists as well.”
All the. entrants had to submit a cocktail recipe, name and picture of their creation to be in with a chance of making it to the next round.
Selected bartenders progressed through three selection phases to the final, at which cruise companies MSC Cruises and AIDA Cruises were also represented alongside Tallink Silja Line.
All the finalists were required to make a presentation lasting a maximum of six minutes and to make two cocktails for judging.
The jury comprised: Alberto Terenghi, Bars Manager for SoHo House Group in Spain; Marcello D’Andrea, Iberian winner of the Bacardi Legacy 2018, co-owner and co-founder of Jekyll & Hyde Barcelona (cocktail bar); and Elena Del Magno: Head Advocacy Iberia (Spain-Portugal).
The judging criteria included name, originality, replicability, visual appeal, aroma and taste, mouthfeel and finish – with Liljehammar’s Crimson Cooler emerging victorious.
“My idea and inspiration for the Crimson Cooler comes from, like many of my cocktails, the culinary business and my interest in food,” said Liljehammar.
In this instance, it was a watermelon and cucumber salad, which Liljehammar usually makes when having a barbecue, that inspired the drink.
“I really wanted to create something that had a unique flavour profile, and a cocktail that could be paired together with food,” he said.
“By combining the sweet flavours from the watermelon and cucumber, a touch of black pepper (in the form of a syrup), a few dashes of saline (salt solution), and a bit of lemon juice, together with Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin, which has flavour notes of spices and citrus, the idea of the Crimson Cooler was born.”
The cocktail pairs especially well with grilled meat and barbecue dishes.