Bacardi Legacia 2013: The Rum Diaries

The Bacardi Legacy Competition challenges the best contemporary bartenders in the world to create balanced, refreshing, appealing and enduring drinks that will become part of the illustrious Bacardi Cocktail Legacy alongside classics such as the Daiquirí and the Mojito.

Barcode Mixologist Ryan Duvenage has been selected as one of four South African finalists and so, for the next month, we will feature “The Rum Diary”, a series of posts chronicling his journey to the final in Cape Town in April 2013.

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ryan Duvenage

Two things I love (aside from good cocktails) are great books and the sea. So when thinking about ideas for a new Rum cocktail, Ernest Hemingway seemed a logical starting point.  Hemingway was one of the 20th Century’s great writers and has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment.

Well known for both his time in Cuba and his fondness for a good drink, he was closely associated with many great cocktails including the Daiquiri, Mojito and Papa Doble with Bacardi Rum said to have been a staple of his home bar.

The Old Man and the Sea (1951) was an iconic novel that contributed to Hemingway’s selection for a Nobel Literature Prize in 1954. I once read a quote that described Hemingway’s style as being “as though everyone else was painting these huge oil canvases and he drew a simple pencil sketch that was somehow better than all the other works of the time.”

That simple, “less is more” style is something I relate to and try (with varying success) to embody in my cocktails.

The great, classic drinks are almost without fail relatively simple combinations of three to five ingredients – The Martini, Negroni, Sour, Julep, Daiquiri, Margarita and so on are all perfect examples of the power and beauty of this minimalist style. When tasked with creating a drink for Bacardi Legacia, I wanted to keep to this simple, classic style (the Daiquiri is a personal favourite) however I did want to introduce a hint of complexity – something to help the cocktail stand out from the crowd and this led me to think of the addition of salt, a trend that is slowly gaining popularity internationally and a fantastic way to add another level of flavour to drinks (think of what adding salt does when cooking).

The Old Man and the Sea takes inspiration from Hemingway’s classic novel of the same name and begins with the “old man” the classic Daiquiri, to which we add a nod to “Papa” (Hemingway’s nickname) with a dash of Maraschino liqueur.

The unusual twist to this cocktail is of course the sea, a lashing of salt water and the briny, smokey aromas of Island Scotch add the finishing touches and conjure images of ocean spray, fishermen and the simple beauty of one of the great novels of the 20th century.

With modern mixology reaching new heights daily, incredible new techniques, ever more complex cocktails and obscure ingredients, it’s easy to get caught up in the cocktail “rat race” and forget the essence of so many great bars and classic cocktails, that all you really need at the end of the day is a good drink and a good story.

The Old Man and the Sea

50ml Bacardi Superior

20ml Pure Cane Syrup

25ml Freshly squeezed lime juice

2.5ml Saline Solution*

5ml Maraschino Liqueur

Talisker Whisky Mist


Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker

Fill with large, fresh blocks of ice

Shake hard and well

Fine strain into a frozen cocktail glass

Using a mister or atomiser, spray a fine mist of Talisker over the surface of the cocktail and rim of the glass.

Garnish with a twist of lime peel


*Combine equal parts salt and hot water. Stir until salt is dissolved.


About Ryan Duvenage

Ryan is an award-winning bartender, trainer and consultant for the Barcode Bar Academy and an enthusiastic ambassador of good drinks. His areas of interests include classic cocktails, cocktail history, wine, spirits and beer. Occasionally coffee too but only at a civilised hour...he is not interested in early mornings. Other interests include guitar, music, books, bodyboarding and travel. He regularly writes about drinks, bars and cocktail culture for several blogs and websites and has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers including Mudl Magazine, The Independent on Saturday, SA Chef!, Food and Home and Men’s Health as well as being featured on several television shows.
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