Aussie finalists announced in bartender of the year comp

Some of Australia’s finest bartenders will contest the national finals of the Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition, before the global finals are staged in Sydney later this year. 

Samuel Cocks (Bar Rogue,WA), Sarah Proietti (Maybe Sammy, NSW), NickTesar (Bar Liberty,VIC), Eduardo Conde (No.92 GPR, NSW) and Kayla Saito (Black Pearl, VIC) made the cut from hundreds of bartenders vying to represent Australia in the bartender competition.

To reach this stage of the competition, bartenders were tasked with two challenges. The first was to create an original highball using Johnnie Walker Black label Whiskey. The second was to create a cocktail using The Singleton with two components inspired by deli culture. 

Australian ambassador for the competition, Krystal Hart, says the skill level of local bartenders is on the rise.

“As Australia’s cocktail culture continues to boom, so too does the level of bartending talent,” Krystal said. 

“We’ve been blown away by the skill of all entrants, but the top five really took it to the next level with their creativity, innovation and focus on sustainability. Moving into the final phase, we’re looking for a bartender who stands out by demonstrating truly show-stopping creations.”

Kayla Saito from the Black Pearl in Victoria.

The national finals will be held at Shell House in Sydney from July 3 through to July 6, before the global finals in September. 

To be named as the Australian Bartender of the Year, the finalists will be asked to compete in three challenges. 

First up, is the reinvention of the classic ‘stirred down and brown’ cocktail using Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The finalists will then go head-to-head in a speed round, tasked with making six drinks in five minutes (they won’t know which drinks until one hour prior). The last challenge will see the finalists mix a Talisker Ritual. To complete the challenge, they’ll be given access to minimal equipment, a small pantry and a mystery box of ingredients. 

Sarah Proietti from Maybe Sammy in NSW will fight it out for a spot in the finals.

Sydney will also host World Class Cocktail Festival this year, the event billed as a week-long celebration spotlighting the best of Australia’s hospitality scene. 

From September 9, The Rocks and surrounding areas including Surry Hills, Bondi and the CBD will host pop-up events and live entertainment with bars and restaurants showcasing food and drink experiences. 

Eduardo Conde from No.92 GPR NSW is also among the finalists.
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