Loreta Kwong from Joe Taylor in Victoria has taken out this year’s Australian final of the Opihr World Adventure Cocktail competition.
Thanks to her drink ‘The Alchemist’ – inspired by Paulo Coelo’s novel of the same name, which similarly explores the concept that knowledge from travel is more valuable than gold – Kwong eventually emerged the best of the seven finalists.
Kwong’s winning cocktail combined a spicy blend of ginger, Australian honey and turmeric syrup (hand made from local ingredients) that highlighted the unique blend of botanicals found in Opihr gin.
Second place went to Claudia Morgan (The Dominion League, WA) for her ‘The Magic Pudding’, while third place was awarded to Jared Huk (The Howlin Wolf, NSW) for his creation ‘The Land of Milk and Honey’.
The other finalists included Giacomo Franceschi (Felix, NSW); Gregory Perrot (NOLA, SA); Indra Saryani (The 18th Amendment Bar, VIC) and Jack Stacey (The Gresham, QLD).
As the Australian winner, Kwong will now travel to Istanbul to compete in the Global Final, which takes place from 24-27 September.
The panel of judges at this year’s Grand Final sees Simone Caporale, Ondrej Pospichal and Aaron Pollock (2017 Opihr competition winner from Chicago) lead the judging panel.
“It’s great to be part of a cocktail competition that is not only celebrating local ingredients, but is ultimately encouraging bartenders to share with one another the knowledge of their country and culture to experiment with new flavours that they’ve learnt from one another,” says Caporale.
The Alchemist by Loreta Kwong
- 60ml Opihr Gin
- 10ml Dry Vermouth
- 10ml yuzu juice
- 10ml ginger turmeric syrup*
- 2 drops of saline solution (10:1)
- 2 dashes of lem-merrakech bitter (Bittered Sling)
Method: Measure all ingredients into a shaker, shake and double strain into Middle Eastern Tea glass over large rectangular ice. Garnish with Gold Dust Painted Star Anise.
*Ginger turmeric syrup recipe: 2 parts ginger juice, 1 part turmeric juice. Slowly simmer with 2 parts Australian honey, 1 part sugar and 1 part water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill for 24 hours before use.