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Bacardi Cruise bartender winner announced

Gerome Firmalo has won the Bacardi Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year 2015 with his Passion Blossom 13 cocktail. Gerome, who works for Holland America, created a cocktail inspired by his travels and triumphed over 2,500 other creations from the cruise industry’s finest mixologists and bartenders in this year’s competition.

Winning this competition is a significant achievement for a cruise ship bartender, and there is a US$5,000 cash prize. Gerome will see his floral martini Passion Blossom 13 – equal quantities Bombay Sapphire gin and St-Germain elderflower liqueur combined with passion-fruit syrup, lemon sour and cranberry juice – featured on-board MS Oosterdam. Bacardi will work with Gerome over the next year to help further develop his craft with professional training and development opportunities including a personalized Bacardi experience.

 “The Passion Blossom 13 embodies what we look for in a cocktail,” says Zachary Sulkes, regional manager Bacardi Travel Retail Americas. “It achieves the perfect mix of ingredients, a well balanced flavour and simplicity that will appeal to cruise vacationers. This was a close battle, and Gerome is a worthy winner.  Each year the standard of entries gets higher and this, in itself, is a great accolade for the cruise industry’s investment in the ever-increasing standards of professional development for their bartending community.

“Cruise is an important strategic channel for Bacardi Global Travel Retail and this competition helps drive category growth for our cruise and ferry line partners.  It’s a fantastic showcase for our brands, especially given the increasing numbers of consumer groups from emerging markets who are new to cruise.”

The Bacardi Cruise Competition was founded in 2005 to help cruise and ferry lines develop a new generation of professional bartenders in their industry.  Since then, Bacardi has worked closely with all major cruise and ferry lines to identify and nurture ambitious bartenders, and has implemented a program of educational development to elevate their professional skills and brand knowledge in the craft of cocktail making.

 “It’s really amazing to win this competition, because I have been working towards it for such a long time. This week, being with the Bacardi team and competitors in South Florida, has been phenomenal and it has been a privilege to compete. Winning the Bacardi Cruise Competition gives me great personal pride with the added kudos of such professional recognition.  There’s no doubt it will help me develop my bartending career,” says Gerome Firmalo.  Originally from the Philippines, Gerome is a bartender on Holland America’s MS Oosterdam based out of Rotterdam.

The other finalists were: Kenneth Tuason from Holland America’s Maasdam, Richard Anderson from Carnival Glory, Nilesh Patel from Carnival Sensation and Royal Caribbean’s Oleksandr Lurchenko.

20 April 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor