By Andy Young, Editor The Shout
The Australian winner of the Diageo Reserve World Class cocktail competition has been named, with Maybe Frank’s Andrea Gualdi taking out the top prize.
This year’s event saw two days of workshops and challenges, and now Gualdi will head to Mexico to represent Australia at the global competition in August.
Speaking after the win, Gualdi said: “This was completely unexpected. I never would have made it without my team and this win is dedicated to them. I’ve dreamed of going to Mexico as a little boy and now it’s finally coming true. All of my energy will now be going into preparing for the global competition. I want the global win for Australia.”
The competition saw 20 bartenders compete across four cocktail challenges: Shared Serve, Against the Clock, Low ABV, and World Class in a Glass. The finalists were judged and scored based on innovation, technique, creativity, presentation, storytelling and artistry.
As part of the competition, winners were named in each of the challenges, with those being:
- Low ABV: Matthew Linklater, Black Pearl (VIC)
- World Class in a Glass: James Irvine, The Swillhouse Group (NSW)
- Shared Serve Cocktails: Jake Down, This Must Be The Place (NSW)
- Against the Clock: Phil Specter, Bulletin Place (NSW)
David Smith, Managing Director Diageo Australia said: “This has been our most competitive year to date. We’ve had more entrants than ever before and we’ve seen exceptional talent, determination and passion from each candidate.
“Our Top 20 finalists not only represent Australia’s vibrant spirits culture, but are an inspiring reflection of the hospitality industry in this country. As a business we are committed to continuing to raise the bar on training and education for all bartenders. Congratulations to Andrea and I look forward to seeing how he performs at the Global Finals.”
As well as heading to the finals in Mexico Gualdi also wins a trip to the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland and to the launch of the first Global World Class bar in Bangkok.