Le Latin

by Matt Robold on June 22, 2015

In the Craft Cocktail world, bartenders tend to be creative types. They work hard to build style that is fast, efficient, and pleasant to watch. They work tirelessly on perfecting technique while memorizing hundreds of recipes filled with esoteric ingredients from around the world, and – ultimately – they desire to create a cocktail of their own that will last beyond their lifetime.

This is the desire that Bacardi taps into for its annual Bacardi Legacy competition every year: the desire to create something eternal. In 2015, the winner of the competition was Frank Dedieu and his Le Latin cocktail.

Le LatinLe Latin
by Frank Dedieu

  • 45 ml Bacardi White
  • 20 ml Lemon Juice
  • 20 ml White Wine (Viognier preferred)
  • 6 ml Olive Brine
  • 2 barspoons Sugar

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with an olive.

Dubbed by some as the “Dirty Daiquiri,” Frank’s creation adheres to the classic formula of a rum sour (aka The Daiquiri) with some twists to make it his own.

“I have customized the DNA of the most famous rum cocktail…rum, lime, and sugar. Sugar cane and rum are the Cuban touch of my cocktail; lemon is the specific citrus and wine represents the French vineyard. A green olive and its brine balances the cocktail with its salty touch.”

– Frank Dedieu

I’ll be completely honest, if I had first seen this drink on a menu without any knowledge of what it was, I would steer clear of it – to the other end of the bar if necessary. I’m not a big fan of Dirty Martinis – those gross mixtures of stale, salty water that had the same olives in it for months (or years) on end and flavorless vodka – powerless to do anything more than dilute the flavor of the brine. The mention of the olive brine immediately puts me ill-at-ease.

Luckily for me, I happen to know that this is an award winning drink made by one of the world’s most talented bartenders, so I gave it a shot. Guess what: it’s actually good.

Because I live somewhere where the metric system is considered too hard to figure out, I had to make some adjustments to match my jiggers (not a lot of 2/3 oz measurements out there). I went with the following:

  • 1.75 oz Bacardi White
  • .75 oz Viognier Wine
  • .75 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Olive Brine
  • 2 barspoons cane syrup

Yeah, I know, this jimmies the proportions a bit, but US measurements prefer halves and quarters to thirds. Sue me (note: please do not sue me).

FrankDoinWork

The lemon and the brine do a nice job of countering each other, with the lemon leading the way and the salty brine finishing the drink. Bridging the gap in between is the incredibly dry Viognier wine – a varietal that isn’t common in the US. Coming in throughout the drink is the sweetness of the sugar balanced with the floral notes of the Bacardi.

Le Latin does not live in a perfectly balanced world. The flavors do not all meld together into a singular experience. This drink is a journey. You travel from one flavor to the next in an interesting and enjoyable trip. The simple construction of the drink belies the more complex experience of drinking it.

I asked Jason Schiffer at 320 Main, for his thoughts on the drink. “This being an obvious sour drink, [it] surprises me a bit when I taste mineral and specifically a hint of brine. The drink is bright and not, at the same time. It plays a little bi-polar.”

While Dedieu claims that “any” dry white wine will work, I’m not so sure

The key to making this bi-polar drink balance on the head of a pin is the Viognier wine. This is not great news for Americans who want to experience the drink. While Dedieu claims that “any” dry white wine will work, I’m not so sure. There a some critical characteristics you need to make this drink work that I haven’t yet found the exact right substitute. You do definitely want to stick to the dry side of the spectrum – a big, buttery Chardonnay would wreck this drink in ways that are probably prohibited specifically in the Geneva Conventions.

If you can’t find a good Viognier though, there is hope. Matt Ellingson, sommelier and manager of the bar and wine program at Disneyland’s exclusive Club 33, suggested looking to other dry, crisp wines. Primarily, he suggested a dry riesling, torrontes, or Alsatian Gewurtzraminer. Beyond that, you mix at your own risk.

Overall, I have to say I was surprised by how much I liked the drink. Olive brine isn’t really my thing, so I didn’t know what to expect. I would definitely order this drink in a bar that had it on its menu. I probably wouldn’t order two, which is my usual measuring stick for a classic, but it’s refreshing tartness followed by salty minerality is a very nice addition to the cocktail world.

  • Images used courtesy of Bacardi
  • Thanks to Alan Hambra for pointing out my typo in my Imperial conversion

Frank Dedieu Wins Bacardi Legacy 2015

by Matt Robold on June 12, 2015

NFrankDedeiu_Smallerote: This article was originally written to appear in Tasting Panel Magazine.

In the world of rum, there are iconic drinks that never seem to lose their luster. The Daiquiri, the Mojito,
the Mai Tai – all are drinks that have survived fame, deterioration of cocktail culture, and the cocktail
renaissance – as greats that will always be great.

Representing their countries, thirty-four bartenders gathered in Australia at the end of April for a chance
to win Bacardi’s Legacy competition. The contenders were challenged with creating the next cocktail
recipe to stand the test of time.

The competition saw hundreds of bartenders competing – first at the local and regional levels before the
national level – to create an iconic cocktail with Bacardi rum. Bartenders were tasked with creating an
original recipe as well as crafting a narrative around the cocktail. Each had to explain why the cocktail
was special beyond just the mixture of ingredients within. For some this “legacy” was the advice given to
them by a parent. For others it was inspiration drawn directly from the story of the Bacardi family or
their own personal journey.

Bacardi Legacy…is about empowering the bartender to establish a drink to go everywhere for all time…

The Bacardi Legacy competition has been seeking new classic cocktails since 2009 when people like
Enrique Comas, a sixth generation descendant of Don Facundo Bacardi Masso (the founder of Bacardi
Rum), implemented their vision of a new competition to inspire a generation of bartenders. As Comas
describes it, “[a]t its heart, the [Bacardi Legacy] competition is about empowering the bartender to establish a drink to go everywhere for all time.”

The competitors craft their drinks and their stories. As they moved through each level of the
competition, from local to national to international, they were encouraged to promote their cocktail.
They did this with the help of their national Bacardi representatives by working shifts at bars around
their countries, encouraging other bars to carry their creations on their menus, and talking to a lot of
press.

The Bacardi Legacy Finals in Sydney
The Bacardi Legacy Finals in Sydney

 

Comas says this is in part to promote the brand, but also to help promote the bartenders themselves.
“Our message to bartenders is, ‘Our legacy is Bacardi. Your legacy will be this drink.’ This competition,
this effort, is to boost them to the level of other legendary bartenders.”

Drinks under consideration ran the gamut from elegantly simple to esoteric. Emil Areng, bartender at
Open/Closed in Sweden, created a cocktail using Bacardi Carta Oro, maple, lime, and a house-made corn
foam. Meanwhile others like Federico Tomasselli from Barnum (Italy) eschewed bespoke ingredients for
white rum, lime juice, absinthe, Frangelico, and sugar.

After countless practices and refinements to their presentations, each bartender took their turn, and the
judges reduced the group to eight finalists (a reference to Bacardi’s 8, or ocho rum). While the rest of
the bartenders grappled with not moving on, the eight finalists had to practice more and present one
last time.

I have customized the DNA of the most famous rum cocktail…rum, lime, and sugar.
~ Frank Dedieu

Finally, the judges picked their Legacy drink – winner in Frank Dedieu. Dedieu’s drink, Le Latin, sat on the
simpler end of the spectrum. You’ll find no house-made syrups or bitters, nor any hard-to-find fruits or
herbs included in his recipe, only white rum, white wine, lemon juice, olive brine, and sugar.
Dedieu linked his family’s vineyards in the region where Don Facundo Bacardi once sold wine before
departing for the New World with the most iconic rum drink ever.

“I have customized the DNA of the most famous rum cocktail…rum, lime, and sugar. Sugar cane and rum
are the Cuban touch of my cocktail; lemon is the specific citrus and wine represents the French vineyard.
A green olive and its brine balances the cocktail with its salty touch.”

FrankDoinWork

Le Latin
45 ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
20 ml White Wine (Viognier preferred)
20 ml Lemon Juice
6 ml Olive Brine
2 barspoons cane sugar
Shake with ice and strain into a coupette. Garnish with an olive.

*Images in this post courtesy of Bacardi

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