Alex Boon from Mjølner in Melbourne has been crowned the Australian winner of Diageo World Class for 2019, after putting in an incredible showing at last week’s finals at The Dolphin and Scout in Sydney.
The finals saw the top 20 bartenders battle it out across three cocktail challenges: the Talisker Time & Place Challenge; Ketel One Vodka Better Drinking Challenge and the Tanqueray No. Ten Gin at Home Challenge.
The finalists also had to take part in the Showdown Challenge, also known as the speed round, making at least six cocktails in six minutes. Boon created an incredible 10 cocktails in six minutes, which were: Ketel One Vodka Flame of Love, Ketel One Vodka Martini, Tanqueray No. TEN Negroni, Bulleit Bourbon Boulevardier, Johnnie Walker Black Label Affinity, Bulleit Bourbon Old Fashioned, Zacapa Rum Old Fashioned, Tanqueray No. Ten Southside, Tanqueray No. Ten White Lady, Talisker 10 Year Old Morning Glory Fizz.
“I am so honoured to have competed alongside the best bartenders in the country and to have been named the Diageo World Class Australian best bartender – this really is a momentous moment in my career,” Boon said after being crowned the winner. “I’m still letting it sink in!”
“It was a tough final, the level of talent in the competition was incredibly high and I am just so delighted and proud to have been awarded the title. It really is a huge acclaim, not only for me but also for Melbourne.
“After four years competing in World Class, I’ve had the opportunity to grow and hone my skills and creativity. Throughout the competition we used Diageo’s Reserve portfolio; Ketel One Vodka, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin and Talisker 10-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky, a collection of sublime liquids to create some never-before-seen flavour combinations and true cocktail masterpieces.
“I’ve been so impressed and inspired by what I’ve seen and learnt. I’d urge any bartenders thinking about taking part next year to go for it. Although it’s a competition, it’s a hugely supportive environment which nurtures and brings out the best in all of the participants.
“Now I look forward to representing my country in the global competition in Glasgow. Bring it on.”
Krystal Hart, Australia’s World Class Ambassador, added: “This year was highly competitive and a showcase of extraordinary talent. It’s exciting to see how innovative Australia’s bar industry has become. Alex impressed us early on, and his continued sense of creativity and attention to detail really shone through in the judges’ eyes. Once again the competition has inspired us with new ideas and we can’t wait to touchdown in Glasgow where Alex will demonstrate what Australia has to offer.”
Boon will now head to Glasgow for the global final, taking place from 24 to 26 September, where he will compete against bartenders from 55 other nations for the title of Global Bartender of the Year 2019.
Boon’s cocktail challenge recipes were:
Talisker Time & Place Challenge
- Talisker 10 Yr Old Scotch Whisky
- White port washed with cacao butter
- Amaro caramel
- Cold pressed cherry
- Coconut wash
- Served in Storm Cloud Punch Bowl
- Grate dark chocolate over drink
Ketel One Vodka Better Drinking Challenge
The Big Pay Back
- Bees wax rested Ketel One Vodka
- Anise hyssop extraction
- Rectified kiwi juice
- Passionfruit and honey ferment
- Shake and strain into ceramic mugs on bees wax coasters
- Zest with fresh lemon/crown with baby’s breath
Tanqueray No. TEN Gin at Home Challenge
Tanqueray No. TEN Gin
- Coconut glaze
- Lime leaf sherry vinegar
- Tomato and strawberry soda
- Basil led leaf garnish
- Built into stemless flute