Australia’s top 20 bartenders were chosen from a list of more than 480 entries, with the finalists to compete in the Australian Grand Final of Diageo Reserve World Class in Sydney on 5 and 6 June.

Australia’s top 20 bartenders were chosen from a list of more than 480 entries, with the finalists to compete in the Australian Grand Final of Diageo Reserve World Class in Sydney on 5 and 6 June.

This year saw the highest number of entries in the history of World Class Australia, with judges having to choose from some of the most original entries the competition has seen to-date.

Bartenders were asked to enter a drink in one or both of the following categories: “Set The Scene” and “Create The Memory”. Entries were then scored according to the qualities of artistry, innovation, balance, technique and aesthetic. After this first stage, judges picked the top 100 bartenders, who were then challenged to submit a cocktail that would take them through to the top 20.

The top 20 will now battle it out for the title of Australia’s Best Bartender over two days. Following a series of workshops hosted by industry experts, the competitors will put their skills to the test in a series of live challenges, designed to test their talent, knowledge, nerve and creativity.

The list of World Class mentors and judges includes Paul Carmichael, executive chef of Momofuku Sydney; restaurant critic and Good Food creative director Gemima Cody; restaurateur and owner of Swillhouse Group Anton Forte; former Global World Class ambassador and beverage director of Ku De Ta Justin Smyth and former World Class winners Charlie Ainsbury and Jack Sotti.

The workshop and challenge categories are low ABV, hosted by Gemima Cody; world class in a glass, hosted by Justin Smyth; shared serve cocktails, hosted by Paul Carmichael; and against the clock, hosted by Anton Forte.

Two-time Australian World Class Bartender of the Year winner and co-owner of Sydney bar This Must Be The Place, Charlie Ainsbury said: “Making it to the Top 20 of the Diageo World Class Competition is an incredible achievement. This year, I’m grateful to be on the other side of the competition and will be mentoring each participant throughout the workshops.”

The Australian winner of the 2017 Diageo Reserve World Class competition will have the chance to take an all-expenses paid trip to the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland. The winner will also be flown to Bangkok to attend the launch of the first Global World Class Bar, where they will participate in a World Class Bootcamp, which will prepare them for the Global Finals.

Finalists from around the globe will compete in the ninth annual Global Diageo Reserve World Class competition in Mexico City in August.

“This year’s competition has tested the drive, commitment and skill of all entrants and the calibre of our Top 20 is a testament of just how much bartending talent we have in Australia,” said Diageo Australia marketing and innovation director Adam Ballesty

“Diageo is proud to pioneer a competition that challenges, trains and inspires Australian bartenders to push their creative boundaries and ability.”

Diageo Reserve World Class Top 20 for 2017 are:

  • Alex Boon, Seymours Cocktails and Oysters – QLD
  • Andrea Gualdi – Maybe Frank, NSW
  • Cameron Pirret – Seymours Cocktails and Oysters, QLD
  • Christian Blair – Annata, NSW
  • Edward Quartermass – Maker, QLD
  • Ella Rhodes – The Gresham, QLD
  • Elliott Pascoe – Maker, QLD
  • Elliott Bell – This Must Be The Place, NSW
  • Jake Down – This Must Be The Place, NSW
  • James Irvine – The Swillhouse Group, NSW
  • Matthew Follent – Bar 1806, VIC
  • Matthew Linklater – Black Pearl, VIC
  • Michael Chiem – PS40, NSW
  • Nick Tesar – Bar Liberty, VIC
  • Orlando Marzo – Lume, VIC
  • Phil Spector – Bulletin Place, NSW
  • Rohan Fisher – Boilermaker House, VIC
  • Simone Sanna – Bar 1806, VIC
  • Thomas Angel – Kiyomi, QLD
  • Thor Bergquist – PS40, NSW




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