Portland bartender and consultant Joe Frade (it’s pronounced ‘Frah-deh’, by the way) has been a busy man since he received the honor of representing the Western Region in the U.S. Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2016. He’s about to get a lot busier.
The final round to select the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail for the U.S. is Monday, February 22 in San Francisco. A full roster of topnotch bartenders from across the country are bringing their best game to the City By The Bay; it is an honor to be recognized in this important competition, and each one will be doing the best they can to walk away with the coveted top spot.
Traveling Joe Frade on the PDX carpet
Mind you, Joe has experience; he’s been in the fray before, and knows what to expect. Joe has also been traveling around the entire country showing off his cocktail, as well as doing several “pop-up” bars around Portland, interviews and television appearances.
Joe Frade mixing it up
Joe is confident that his premier cocktail, the aptly named El Empresario, an extravagant upgrade of the standard Bacardi and Coke that has become such a staple of the rum-drinking world, will continue to wow the judges and give him bragging rights for the year.
USBG Legacy Cocktail Finals 2016
The competitive juices will flow on Monday in San Francisco. The highly respectable team of professionals from around the country will be representing themselves, their bars, and their regions. Showmanship, skill, creativity and that necessary magic of hospitality will be on ample display. The winner will go on to the USBG Legacy Cocktail Competition Global Finals, sponsored by Bacardi..
El Empresario Cocktail by Joe Frade
El Empresario is a complex cocktail yet surprisingly easy to make, which makes it easy to promote to bartenders in a Legacy program, and carries the standard of Bacardi with an aristocratic flair.
Start with 1 ounce of Bacardi Gold Rum, add ¾ ounce Fino Sherry (Joe prefers Valdespino Inocente), ½ ounce Chateau d’Usse VSOP Cognac, ½ ounce cola syrup, a barspoon of the Spanish citrus/vanilla Licor 43, pour over in two mixing tins, spritz with a mister of reposado mezcal, and top with a sliver of orange peel. That’s it! Oh, Joe suggests the perfect final touch is to serve it with a fine Cuban cigar, if that is one of life’s pleasures you indulge in.
El Empresario carries that tradition of ‘rum ‘n’ coke’, but it expands far, far beyond that. Cola and rum, yes; but with the additional nuances of the Fino Jerez, with its slight nuttiness, the lavish bright richness of the Licor 43 (or in Spanish, Cuarenta y Tres), the equally lush vanilla-oak and wine tones of the d’Usse Cognac, and the surprising touch of slightly smoky-herbal mezcal (which would tie it in superbly with an accompanying cigar), this is a drink to linger over, sip by sip. Use the large cubes or spheres of slow-melting hard ice to prolong the experience and match the slow burn of that cigar.
Frade is not a one-trick pony, though. He has plenty of other creative cocktail ideas, as evidenced by his USBG Legacy competition cocktail from last year, the sunny, bright, and deliciously tart Rum Pleasure, a vivid combination of Bacardi Gold Rum, lime juice, Giffard’s Banane du Bresil, egg white and a splash of ginger ale. The familiar mellow base of Bacardi Gold combines seamlessly with Giffard’s banana liqueur, providing a touch of tropical fruit without going overboard; the lime supplies the brisk acid tartness, the egg white adds the creamy, foamy touch to soften the impact, and the ginger ale throws in a light touch of spice—all in all, a simple but inspired melding of quality ingredients for a perfect Caribbean touch.