Diageo World Class has announced Australia’s top 20 finalists for 2018, who will compete in the Australian Grand Final in Sydney on April 23 and 24.
The top 20, whittled down from more than 500 entries, were tasked with impressing the judges with cocktails designed to fit with this year’s theme: ‘Wanderlust’. Entrants could enter a drink in one or both of the categories: ‘Home’ (creating a cocktail inspired by a place in Australia), and ‘Away’ (designing a drink inspired by an overseas destination).
Diageo’s brand ambassadors sifted through each individual entry, scoring qualities for the cocktail, its story, technique and visual aesthetics to decide the country’s top 100 bartenders. The top 100 then battled it out to ‘Break the Mould’, challenging conventions and building flavour through alternative processes to secure their place in the top 20.
“This competition continues to set the global standard for bartenders, it’s the ultimate accolade in the industry and there is no shortage of imitators,” said Diageo Australia Marketing and Innovation Director, Adam Ballesty.
“World Class is now in its tenth year but the thing I’m really proud of is how it highlights the breadth of world class talent that we have here in Australia. This competition isn’t just about making a top notch cocktail, it takes creativity, an understanding of flavour profiles, extensive knowledge of spirits and a serious commitment to the craft.
“We punch so far above our weight in Australia that we had the highest number of submissions this year than ever before in the ten-year history of Diageo World Class globally.”
Diageo World Class Top 20 for 2018
- Max Allison – Boilermaker House (VIC)
- Antonello Arzedi – Maybe Frank (NSW, cocktail entry pictured above)
- Alex Boon – Seymour’s Cocktails and Oysters (QLD)
- Oliver Brown – Anchovy Bandit (SA)
- Dean Buchanan – Long Chim (WA)
- Joseph Chisholm – Brooklyn Standard (QLD)
- Elise Godwin – Strange Company (WA)
- Andy Griffiths – Eau De Vie (VIC)
- Paul Hammond – Bulletin Place (NSW)
- Jet Hauge – Burrow Bar (NSW)
- William Krepop – Jungle Boy (VIC)
- Orlando Marzo – Lûmé (VIC)
- Elliot Pascoe – Maker (QLD)
- Lachlan Robinson – Bobèche (WA)
- Dale Schoon – Earl’s Juke Joint (NSW)
- Jack Sotti – Boilermaker House (VIC)
- Evan Stroeve – Shady Pines Saloon (NSW)
- Nick Tesar – Bar Liberty (VIC)
- Samuel Tripet – Cobbler (QLD)
- Dominic Xavier – Savile Row (QLD)
The next stage of the competition will see the top 20 finalists battle it out in Sydney later this month, as they take part in a series of live challenges and educational workshops hosted by industry experts.
Diageo World Class mentors and judges this year include Michael Madrusan (of Milk & Honey fame, and founder of The Everleigh and The Elk Room); Danielle Alvarez (executive chef of Fred’s in Paddington, where the finals will be held); Fenella Kernebone (Curator of TedxSydney and TV and radio presenter); and Melissa Leong (food writer and media personality).
Kaitlyn Stewart, World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2017 and Krystal Hart, Diageo World Class national ambassador, will also be guiding competitors throughout the action-packed two days.
The Australian winner of the Diageo 2018 World Class Competition, announced on 24 April, will have the chance to embark on a once in a lifetime, all expenses paid trip to Berlin, to represent Australia on the world stage at the Global Finals in October.
The national winner will then embark on a cocktail tour of Europe, visiting world famous bars and iconic Diageo distilleries, from the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland to the beautiful ‘chez CÎROC’ in the South of France, as well as experiencing the best bucket list drinking occasions the continent has to offer.