Myanmar Mixologist Heads to Global Cocktail Competition in Puerto Rico
By Lwin Mar Htun 14 December 2019
Yangon – A mixologist from Gekko Yangon, Ko Lal Muan Puia, will head to Puerto Rico in January to compete in a global cocktail competition as the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition Wildcard, representing Asia Pacific.
“When my friend phoned to say I was selected as the Asia-Pacific finalist I couldn’t believe it. I’m so happy. This is the big achievement for this year and I’m so excited about the competition,” Ko Puia told The Irrawaddy.
He first read about the competition online in 2011.
“It’s one of my goals and I always wanted to be in this Bacardi competition. My dream has come true: I’m going to a global competition with my job,” he said.
In the Bacardi cocktail competition, participants need to create a cocktail that says something about their life experiences. Participants have to record their cocktail’s presentation at their bar and submit an unedited video of up to six minutes.
“When I was young, I sold banana popsicles by running around the village. I’m creating a cocktail for the competition called Kalay Pop, using my childhood story,” said Ko Puia.
Kalay Pop is based on Bacardi Carta Oro and mixed with banana, Dom Benedictine, lime and sesame. It’s a bit creamy because of the banana and it makes for a wonderful combination.
“After posting the video, they selected the top eight and we needed to send every detail of my cocktail’s ingredients to the team and they tasted it. This is the first time anyone from Myanmar has won the regional prize,” said Ko Puia.
“There will be four finalists, including me. The winner will get a chance to compete in the big final in Miami. Now I’m doing my best and working each day on how to portray the best cocktail presentation.”
Ko Puia’s cocktails are well known for their seasonal ingredients from Myanmar.
“I will gain more responsibility to guide the next generation of bartenders. I need to be a good, supportive adviser to the younger generation,” he said.
“There are a lot of good, talented mixologists in Yangon. I hope they will also compete in other global competitions because they have excellent skills and they should be on the world stage too.”
The competition is scheduled to be held on Jan. 30 in Puerto Rico.
“Money can’t buy this kind of chance. During the trip, we will have workshops and I’m so excited to meet experts from other countries,” said Ko Puia.