Emotional Performance by USA’s Shingo Gokan Wins Bacardi Legacy Global Final.

But only with a little help from his friends…

Shingo speaks to the crowd

The final night of an amazing week in Puerto Rico saw a tear-filled conclusion to the 2012 Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition.

Semi finals whittled the field of 26 down to 8, all of whom were very nervous as they took to the stage in the grounds of Bacardi’s San Juan distillery and Cathedral of Rum for the grand finale.

On a beautiful, balmy night, around 300 spectators and supporters watched the competitors take their turn on stage, and despite obvious nerves, everyone acquitted themselves admirably.

The UK boys did very well… Belfast’s Hayden Scott Lambert was confident and assured, and scuttlebutt during the comp told us that the judges rated his drink among the best on the night.

Zdenek Kastanek of London’s Quo Vadis was also polished and poised, with his story of a girl (and cocktail) called La Hermosa getting one of the loudest crowd reactions of the final.

Shingo Gokan, hailing from Japan but representing the USA, was last up, and as he began his presentation, became very emotional when talking about Japan’s terrible calamities last year.

Because of visa restrictions, Shingo was unable to leave the USA to visit his family in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, and was reduced to tears as the tension of the night and the memory of events got the better of him.

Shingo finds himself in the spotlight

The competition imposed a strict 10 minute time limit on each competitor, which included set up and break down of the bar. Because Shingo lost time regaining his composure, he looked certain to overrun and incur a 50 point penalty that would scupper any chance of winning.

However, with 30 seconds to go, several of his competition rivals gathered at the foot of the stage. As soon as Shingo’s drink was finished they raced to the bar and helped him clear his kit within the time limit.

This very moving show of solidarity, in BarLifeUK’s opinion, probably clinched the competition for Shingo, and reflected the way in which the group of competitors had bonded during the Legacy final week (a report on the week in Puerto Rico will follow shortly).

Congratulations then to Shingo Gokan for adding his drink, ‘Speak Low’ to the list of Bacardi Legacy cocktails. And also to the guys who helped him get there with a very selfless act, which quite likely cost one of them the title.

Shingo Gokan’s winning drink – Speak Low

  • 1oz BACARDÍ Superior Rum
  • 1oz BACARDÍ Solera Rum
  • ½ oz Osborne Pedro Ximinez Sherry
  • 1tsp Matcha and zest of yuzu


Mix the BACARDÍ Superior and Matcha with a chasen Matcha whisk in a glass tumbler. Strain into a shaker and add BACARDÍ Solera and the sherry. Hard Shake and double strain into old fashioned glass and spray of yuzu zest on the top.