Who will create Australia’s Nikka Perfect Serve?

Ten of Australia’s best bartenders will head to Black Pearl in Melbourne this week hoping to win this year’s Nikka Perfect Serve bartending competition.

It’s the first time in 10 years of the Nikka competition that Australian competitors will have the chance to win their own regional contest and ultimately represent Australia against other regional finalists from around the world.

The Nikka Perfect Serve focuses on the Japanese philosophy of ‘ichi-go, ichi-e’, which translates to ‘one moment, one encounter’. Ichi-go, ichi-e puts the guest’s experience at the centre of the competition, placing focus on the entire exchange rather than just the cocktail served.

End scoring will be based on the bartender’s overall embodiment of ichi-go, ichi-e, with judges assessing service and communication as well as the choice and quality of each drink prepared. Put simply, to win, each competitor must interpret the mood of the judges and provide them with an amazing experience and drink.

The upstairs cocktail lounge at Black Pearl will be transformed into the ultimate mixologist’s dream, offering the whole Nikka range and a bouquet of ingredients to let imaginations run wild.

Each bartender will need to impress the panel of three prominent industry judges, comprising Melbourne Chef Jo Barrett, Above Board owner, Hayden Lambert and industry veteran Luke McCarthy.

The 10 Australian Regional Nikka Perfect Serve contestants are:

  • Alex Boon, Pearl Diver Cocktails & Oysters, VIC
  • Emma Cookson, The Whisky List, VIC
  • James Coppe, Anchovy Bandit, SA
  • Michael Morgan, The Baxter Inn, NSW
  • Nicholas Oswald, Anchovy Bandit, SA
  • Grace Rawlins, Memphis Slims House of Blues, SA
  • Aiden Rodriquez, Eau de Vie, VIC
  • Miriam Wahlhutter, The Ugly Duckling, VIC
  • Alex Woodmass, Speakeasy Group (Eau De Vie Melbourne), VIC
  • Wen Yu Wang, Maybe Sammy, NSW

The winner of the Australian Regional Nikka Perfect Serve will take part in the Global Final in Italy in November. As well as gaining recognition on the global scene, the winner and runner-up of the Global Final will be invited on a trip to Japan to experience the Japanese bar scene and tour Nikka’s iconic distilleries, Yoichi and Miyagikyo.

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