Cruise Critic Toasts Winners of Bacardi Cruise Competition

April 11, 2008

Each year, the BACARDI Cruise Competition searches the high seas for novel and memorable recipes by hosting a competition open to cruise and ferry line bartenders and chefs worldwide. This year, over 800 recipes were submitted, each featuring at least one Bacardi product. Preliminary judges winnow down possible winners, then a panel of VIP judges (which included Cruise Critic in 2008!) vote on 10 semifinalists -- five cocktails, five entrees -- to select the Bacardi Chef of the Year and Bacardi Bartender of the Year.

For the first time ever in 2008, Cruise Critic members were also given the opportunity to choose their favorite recipes from the 10 semifinalists in a series of polls on our Cruise Foodies forum. The bartender and chef who received the majority of your votes will each be presented with Cruise Critic's Cruisers' Choice Awards at Bacardi's official awards ceremony this Sunday, April 13.

So which dishes and drinks did YOU give top scores to? The Cruisers' Choice Awards winners are....

Most Popular Cocktail: Raspberry Chocolate Martini

Mauricio Campos, a bartender from Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, submitted the recipe for the cocktail that Cruise Critic readers voted tops. It was a close race -- the creamy, sweet martini was neck and neck from start to finish with Cozumel, a fruity frozen concoction. But in the end, this BACARDI® RAZZ-laced libation sealed the deal with 39 percent of the vote versus 34.

Most Popular Entree: Herb Crusted DRAMBUIE® Soaked Tenderloin with Morel Mushroom Sauce

This dish, the semifinalist in the meat/poultry category, won by a landslide with 53 percent of the vote (Fruit Sushi in Bacardi Raspberry Coulis, with just 20 percent, was its closest competition). Suban Varghese, a Junior Sous Chef aboard Carnival Victory, submitted the mouthwatering recipe in which a beef tenderloin marinates in DRAMBUIE® Liqueur, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper -- yum.

Cruise Critic will be at the ceremony on Sunday to award plaques to Royal Caribbean and Carnival, and certificates to Campos and Suban, on behalf of the Cruise Critic community. The names of the Bacardi Chef of the Year and Bacardi Bartender of the Year, as voted by the panel of VIP judges, will also be revealed on Sunday -- stay tuned for our coverage and photos!

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor