Long Chim Perth’s Dean Buchanan has emerged as the winner of the 2018 Starward Constellations Cocktail Competition, triumphing with his drink the Tuber.
Buchanan’s cocktail embraced the competition’s ‘Iconic Australian People and Places’ theme, combining Starward Wine Cask, truffle butter cacao, porcini distillate, native thyme, and peated Amaro.
With over 170 entries into this year’s competition, Starward held the final at its Port Melbourne Distillery where eight of Australia’s best bartenders battled it out across an intense two-day competition.
It was a closely-run affair, with Buchanan edging out Brittany Rowe (Cobbler Bar, Brisbane) and Kayla Reid (Savile Row, Brisbane) in second and third place respectively.
Buchanan managed to stand out thanks to his ability to blend single malt whisky casks, improvise tiki drinks and display his cocktail presentation skills in front of a sizeable group of Melbourne hospitality and drinks professionals.
As competition judge and co-owner of Elysian Whisky Bar, Yao Wong, commented: “These were some of the best cocktails I’ve ever seen in a competition with some unusual and unique recipes displaying a high level of dedication from all those involved.”
Mentored by Starward founder David Vitale, Dean’s prize is the creation of his very own Starward blend, consisting of some of the distillery’s rarest barrels, in addition to a customised cocktail kit and leather bag crafter by Wootten Leather Works.
“It’s truly humbling to see Australian bartenders supporting our whisky on such a large scale,” said Vitale.
“The calibre of entries has been amazing and the drinks they’ve produced have really showcased Starward’s versatility. We’d like to congratulate Dean on his fantastic cocktail that made him this year’s winner.”