Miro Kljajic crowned winner of 2016 Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition

Miroslav Kljajic of Carnival Cruise Lines has been crowned winner of the 2016 Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year. He will now compete in the global finals of the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in San Francisco on 20-25 April.

The final, which took place in Miami on 25 February, saw Kljajic impress the judges with his Elixir Fizz cocktail creation, featuring Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, tawny port wine, homemade vanilla and thyme syrup, Martini prosecco, cherry bitter spray and fresh sprigs of thyme.

Left to right: Bacardi Global Travel Retail’s Gordon Chisholm, Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition winner Miro Kljajic, finalist Bailon Pasamba, judge Adrian Biggs, finalist Andres Poljakov, Bacardi Senior Brand Master and judge Willy Ramos, Bacardi Global Travel Retail’s Taylor Byrne and judge John Lermayer

This year’s Bacardi Legacy Cruise Competition was judged by Bacardi Senior Brand Master William Ramos, Bacardi Senior Portfolio Ambassador Adrian Biggs and owner of Sweet Liberty cocktail bar in Miami Beach and 2010 Bacardi Legacy US winner John Lermayer.

The other finalists were Bailon Pasamba of Holland America Line and Andres Poljakov of Tallink Group. Miro received a US$4000 cash prize and an all expenses paid trip to the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition where he will compete against 35 other professional bartenders from across the globe for the ultimate title.

Bacardi Travel Retail Americas Regional Manager Zachary Sulkes commented: “Miro’s winning cocktail perfectly captures the spirit of Bacardi. His confidence and professional presentation really impressed the judges and he is clearly a fantastic example of how bartending standards in the cruise industry are fast becoming ever more professional, with talent like Miro whose total commitment to his craft, knowledge and skills are an absolute pleasure to witness in action. We were also very impressed with the marketing campaign he created to promote his cocktail in the months leading up to the final.”

Kljajic won a cash prize of US$4,000 and will travel to San Francisco in April for an all expenses paid trip to take part in the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition

Judge William Ramos said: “Elixir Fizz itself is light, floral and aromatic in nature, perfectly complimenting the Bacardi Carta Blanca rum. The initial scent of cherry gives way to the uniquely fresh aroma of thyme. Once sipped the medium bodied port hits you with rich intense flavours of dark fruits finally finished by a smooth, oaky, vanilla ending.”

Kljajic said: “My goal is to keep learning and developing my specialism in this exciting profession. One day I plan to open my own bar somewhere in the world, I haven’t decided where yet but having a great position with Carnival that enables me to travel so much is the best way to consider all my options. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the Bacardi Legacy Global Final in April and it’s a tremendous honour to be included as part of this important professional showcase.”

Kljajic’s Elixir Fizz fought off competition from Bailon Pasamba of Holland America Line and Andres Poljakov of Tallink Group

“In the three months leading up to the final my cocktail was featured as the drink of the day on board Carnival Glory twice a week at the Alchemy bar,” continued Kljajic.

“I got in touch with my friends who work onboard and others in bars around the world and was able to get it featured in some incredible locations. I also spent two weeks attending a professional mixology course in Stockholm where I presented Elixir Fizz in Marie Laveau, one of the most famous cocktail bars in the city, with 35 of the world’s best bartenders in attendance. I also wanted to give something back to the community and through my cocktail Carnival Cruise Lines has been able to raise US$1,000 for a local children’s hospital in Miami.”

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