Marie Dørge Danish finalist for the 2020 Bacardi Legacy

Pear your Carta Blanca with this!

Last night, amongst friends, coworkers and fellow cocktail aficionados, Marie Dørge of MASH Frederiksberg landed herself a once in a lifetime trip to Miami as the Danish finalist for the 2020 Bacardi Legacy Global Competition.

Pear With Me blends Bacardi Carta Blanca, Martini Ambrato, Apple Brandy, pear, lemon, vanilla and absinthe to create a crisp and herbaceous sip. Inspired by a trip to the supermarket late last summer, Marie chose to make the pear her main protagonist, quickly tying it in with a narrative close to her heart. “I made a campaign that’s about pairing up new people, making new acquaintances. It was important to me to build a campaign that would create value even if I didn’t win,” she explains.

But in fact, Marie did win. In balance, as well as concept, all three judges agreed that Marie’s cocktail Pear With Me had what it takes to compete against an international crowd of cocktail connoisseurs. “Marie’s drink and Marie herself won because her concept all together charmed us,” says 2015 Danish Legacy finalist Jonas B. Andersen, who judged the competition together with last year’s winner Nicklas Jørgensen and Head Sommelier at Orangeriet, Sofie Lem Hansen. “She showcased something she stands for and really believes in, and we could easily picture her cocktail being sipped around the world,” he adds.

An industry crowd to keep tensions high

Friends, coworkers and most of Copenhagen’s bar industry had gathered in the intimate space of Strøm Bar. The bartenders worked swiftly to fulfil a dreadful and almost impossible task of the night – silencing the thirsty cries of a house full of bartenders.

A quarter to eight they were relieved of their duties, as the first contestant took to the stage to present his Legacy drink. Jiri Malis of Brønnum and dear member of the Cocktails of Copenhagen family, prepped himself to present his cocktail Divine Design in front of the judges. With confidence, he relayed the story of Bacardi to the crowd, tying in his own perception of the duty of a bartender and the inspiration behind his cocktail. 

“I’m a bartender, not a mixologist. What was important for me was to try and not reinvent the wheel, so I’m using four very simple ingredients that you can find in any bar and just decided to put them together in a way that, hopefully, no one has done before me,” he says.

“Jiri is extremely good at presenting, he keeps super calm,” last nights winner Marie later said of her fellow contestant’s performance. “I hope I can go on stage with the same confidence in Miami, knowing that I’m nailing it.” 

After Jiri broke the ice, Nobis Hotel’s Maz Jocas took to the stage to raise awareness of a very particular cause. “I’ve loved working with honey since I started bartending. And then I found out how important the honey makers really are for preserving everything we have and use in the bar” Maz explained.  “Bees are the biggest pollinators on the planet, and so they are worth saving,” he told the crowd, shaking ever so slightly as he tilted the jigger into the mixing glass. “Because we work in the most social environment, we as bartenders have the power to influence normal people to make an impact. Not just within the bar scene, but by also spreading the word amongst the normal customer base.” 

Maz may not have left with the trophy last night. But with both Bybi Copenhagen urban beekeepers supporting his cause, Copenhagen seeds donating bee-friendly seeds to anyone who bought a drink and one Danish Legacy final under his belt, Maz has hopefully managed to leave a little (bee) Legacy of his own behind in the Copenhagen bar scene.

As the night’s final contestant, MASH Frederiksberg’s Marie Dørge stepped onto the bar, the crowd was already warm, cocktails had been consumed and the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. “I definitely felt nervous,” Marie recalls. “I started shaking as you do when you don’t receive enough oxygen, and I realised I had to remind myself to breathe.”

Presenting for the first time in a crowd of 50-something industry people didn’t help her to calm down. But as presentation got underway, Marie’s interpretation of the social space that is the bar began to unfold. In spite of forgetting the final spray of absinthe before serving her drink, the judges saw enough strength and potential to rule her the winner of the night.

“I think Miami will be a huge experience,” she says. “We have such a high level amongst bartenders in Denmark, but there’s also a reluctance to compete. Whereas in other countries, it’s always the best who enters. So, I expect the final in Miami to be that – the best of the best.”

Photos: Dennis Larsen

Author image
Miriam Gradel
Much like the case of the chicken and the egg, I've never really been sure whether I started as a journalist or as a bartender. However, one thing's for sure: both require whiskey!