Representing the Philippines in Bacardi Legacy, John Richelieu O. Cruz talks about his journey in designing his signature cocktail, El Tindero.
When and Why did you decide you wanted to enter BACARDI LEGACY
Joining this prestigious global competition came as a surprise when I received a phone call in my day job. Here in my country I have always been involved in bartending events but it was only til I won 3rd place in Bols Around the World that I got excited in joining BLCC. I read the rules and asked some questions and well I didn’t hesitate to join. Basically at this point in my life I would like to challenge myself and see where I am now in terms of Bartending. Secondly I dedicate this competition to my family especially my father.
Have you followed the journeys of previous finalists and if so who stood out for you?
Well honestly not all, I was just able to view the videos of Shingo, Tom, Frank and Denzel. All of them actually stood out and everyone has something worth admiring from technique, cocktail and personality.
Why is Bacardi Legacy such an important competition for you?
I sincerely believe in the logo of Bacardi which stands for Health Fortune and Family Unity. Each competition has a different objective. For this competition, a cocktail that will stand the test of time is a very challenging one since you live and die with your cocktail. I always believe that the cocktail is a representation of the Bartender that made it and everything in El Tindero represents me. The marketing aspect of the competition is another aspect that I also like because it tests you to walk the talk and be proud of your product.
What is your inspiration behind your drink?
This drink was actually inspired by the man himself who found Bacardi, Don Facundo Masso. As I read through his account a very clear picture of him caught my attention. He is the epitome of the ultimate businessman. The ultimate businessman is a person who sells with passion. To sell something, one must be confident of what he is selling, To be confident, the product must be researched, everything has relevance not only to the seller but to the end user. One cannot do this if he does not have passion, dedication and motivation. And that is what Don Facundo has shown. But what makes him stand out as the ultimate business man is that his main driving force is that he gives value to his FAMILY. Don Facundo did all these for his family, he wanted something that he can leave behind and passed on to the future generation. And it comes with no surprise that until now Bacardi is still owned by FAMILY.
This realization almost drove me to tears since I was reminded of my father. My father showed his passion by being selfless. He went abroad, worked in Saudi, after that he bought a taxi, worked in a hotel as a valet just so he can put us to school. He did everything for us. He valued us more than anything else. Last year was the most difficult time for us since my father was diagnosed with the big C. But even then that didn’t stop him from helping us out in the house in whatever capacity. He is a Mc Gyver, a handyman. Until the day came that he told me, “son, I think you’re all set.” And on May 25 at 6:08pm he passed away. With this tragic incident, I realized that the legacy my father left is my family and now it is upto me to continue it.
Time is Gold as they say and the ultimate business man always spends the day as if it was his last. In my country a salesman is called tindero…thus the ultimate salesman one who sells with passion and values  his family is called EL TINDERO.
You are permitted to use 6 ingredients what is the one that brings the x factor?
I personally think that every ingredient I used has a unique character that it brings to the drink but if I were to choose one it would have to be the Apple cider Vingar. Most would actually use lime, lemon or orange for their citrus but I figured that I wanted to use an ingredient that is both sour and complex and I think I have hit the jackpot with this ingredient. In fact people that have tasted El Tindero would always b surprised if I mention this.
Between Bacardi Carta Blanca and Oro as the base which did you go for and why?
I would definitely go for Bacardi Oro.
Bacardi Oro has tasting notes of rich vanilla, buttery caramel, toasted almonds, and sweet banana note with the warm zest of orange peel and a light tasting oaky finish. Given this flavor profile, the other ingredients in El Tindero blends perfectly with it. I used Lager beers to enhance the bitterness notes that the orange peel brings. The Coconut bring sweet and nutty flavors. The Muscovado Syrup brings caramel notes as well as a slight aroma of saltiness. The apple cider vinegar brings the sourness and releases all the flavors of my cocktail. And finally the toasted dessicated coconut with a touch of muscovado is the aroma and savory factor that this cocktail brings.
I would recommend this as an after dinner drink, very suitable finale for a sumptuous meal.
Why do you believe your drink has the potential to be the next Bacardi Legacy cocktail?
If you would notice, I ingredients that one could find in both the bar and the kitchen because I always believed the Food and Beverage should always complement each other. The dessicated coconut and apple cider vinegar definitely shows that in El Tindero.
Who would you most like to see drinking it?
Thank you for this question. I sincerely dedicate this to all the people that work and sell something whether product or service. Most especially those that do it with passion and for their family that they value.  I raise a glass for a good job done and tomorrow is another day.
What advise can you give for people entering next year?
This is breakthrough year for Bacardi Philippines since it would be the first time we are joining the competition. Hopefully this competition will be a fire starter so that our bartenders here will be motivated to compete. Last year we had a total of 50 entries and I am confident that next year there will be more.
What would winning Bacardi legacy mean to you?
Winning Bacardi Legacy will mean a lot to me because at this point of my Career I have considered Bartending as my Life. I have always been advocating the love of the job for it to elevate into a Profession and as you go deeper it will become your lifestyle. Bacardi Legacy made me discover a different aspect of myself and this is just the beginning.

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