Positively Scottish Humans of Oz: Ryan, whose Wanderlust is a cocktail based on his life story

In this series of regular articles, our Melbourne-based correspondent meets the Positively Scottish Humans of Oz

Daiquiri, Mojito, Piña Colada…the classic cocktails of the rum world. Though it’s hard to improve on perfection, there’s currently a competition being run by Bacardi, challenging the best contemporary bar-tenders in the world to create a cocktail legacy that will take its place as a true heir of the rum family. Their concoctions are judged on various criteria, including originality, aroma and taste, name, presentation, inspiration and longevity. An initial pool of 50 hopefuls in each country is culled to eight, then to a top three. On February 7, the three Australian front-runners will give their final presentation to a panel of judges. Among them is 23-year-old Sydney-based Scot, Ryan Snedden, whose signature cocktail pays homage to his father’s tales of travel on the high seas.

My drink is called Wanderlust, which is all about a strong desire to travel. About 17 years ago, my father was a member of the Royal British Navy, and Wanderlust is inspired by him and the legacy he taught me. He travelled the world for the majority of my younger life, but each time he’d return, he’d paint images of his travels with all these stories. That’s where I developed a love for travel too.

Just before my father would come home, my mother would take me to the local farm and we’d pick fresh fruits. My dad was a chef in the navy and so he’d come home and cook desserts for us to try. I wanted to create a drink that took me back to that time, so all the ingredients in my creation are representative of that.

My dad and mum split up when I was about 15. He moved to Jersey and I stayed with mum in Edinburgh. My father would tell me that he didn’t want me to stay in my home town, that I had to go out and see the world and grow, and then start my own family. ‘If you want something, go get it, make sure you never give up,’ he’d say. ‘Always try and better yourself, always continue to go travelling.’

About two years ago, my mother said to me, ‘Right, you have to go. You have to go travelling, you don’t like it here. Leave, go travel, go find yourself.’ She made me book a flight that very day while I was sitting on the couch, super-hungover. I’ve now been in Australia just over a year.

I entered the Bacardi Legacy competition last year with a drink called Father and Son. It won in Scotland and I went to the UK final. This year I am in the top three for Australia. What I’m doing now is marketing my drink and trying to get it into as many bars in as many countries as possible, using my connections in the industry. I’m using Instagram and Facebook, and I made a video. My dad also sent me a video of him making the drink, which is actually getting a lot of views! He came out to visit me in Australia two weeks ago and he tried my drink in a few bars, so that was pretty special.

Wanderlust is now available in 30 bars worldwide, including three in Edinburgh—Hoot the Redeemer, Panda & Sons, and also Tonic, where I used to work before I came to Australia. One of my friends also put it on the menu of a cruise that goes between Australia and New Zealand.

At the Australian final on 7 February, I have to present my global marketing plan and my drink to a panel of judges and around 100 bar-tenders and industry experts. The Australian winner is then flown to Berlin for the global final. 

If you win overall, you’re crowned the Global Bacardi Legacy Champion and then you work with Bacardi for a year, doing bar take-overs and training sessions around the world.

Winning this would be incredible, as it would make what my father and mother told me when I was younger become a reality—‘travel, find a new family and make something of yourself’. I’ve travelled, found my family in the hospitality industry and proved to myself that if I never give up, I’ll eventually be where I want to be.

In Ryan’s words:


Inspired by the resilience and determination of the original Bacardi family, Wanderlust is a tale of my personal childhood and trials of a travelling family. With a memory-provoking citrusy aroma, this cocktail represents a journey encompassing 1,000 stories. The explosion of fresh fruits combined with Bacardi Carta Blanca speaks to chasing your dreams and the strength and love of family.

50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
20ml lemon
20ml pineapple juice
20ml grapefruit syrup
10ml Creme De Mure
7.5ml Pedro Ximenez

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