Kervin Unido Might Make the Best Cocktail You'll Ever Try
The finalist from the Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan leg of the annual Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition will go to the global finals.
Tell us about about your cocktail. It’s a straight-up drink: Some people might think that it’s a daiquiri, but it’s not. A daiquiri only needs three ingredients: Bacardi, sugar, and lime. [For the competition], they gave us a maximum of six ingredients. My drink has Bacardi Carta Blanca, guava juice mixed with agave nectar—a sweetener—and lime juice to balance the sweet and sour. I wanted to make it palatable for Hong Kong tastes, but I also made it a little stronger [by topping it off] with lager beer. Then a little bit of egg white for the texture, to give it a bit of foam along with the lager. I’m using a sweetener because the inspiration for my drink is Ernest Hemingway. When he was living in Cuba he used to drink a lot of daiquiris. He couldn’t take sugar because he had a hereditary disease which led to diabetes.
The Hong Kong part of the competition was held at Mr. and Mrs. Fox—did your win have anything to do with it being held on your home turf? Not really. A lot of my competition was tough. Most of them were more experienced than me: bar managers and supervisors. The other four were from Taiwan—I watched them and these guys were executing their cocktails very well—even flairing a lot, not to mention their presentation. I didn’t flair at all. I just stood tough and did my best.
You’ll be up against more than 40 other bartenders at the finals in San Francisco. What do you think the challenges will be? It’s a lot bigger than last year and there will be more pressure. I’m nervous about my competitors. There’s another guy from the Philippines as well, called Richie, who also made a cocktail using beer. The competition [process] is similar, but this round I will have to promote my drink more. I’m doing guest shifts. On April 1, I will be at the Flint Grill & Bar, and at Swire outlets [including The Continental] the week after.
If you had to make a cocktail to represent Hong Kong, what ingredients would you pick? I should look for ingredients that are the specialty of Hong Kong, that could easily be made around the world: For me I think longan fruits and mandarin orange, mixed it with a little bit of port wine. I’d use the bauhinia flower as a garnish.