In an Australian first, Charlie Ainsbury from This Must Be The Place has been named the Diageo Reserve World Class Australian Bartender of the Year for the second time.

Following two days of workshops and challenges, Ainsbury was presented with the title in Melbourne on 10 April, having previously taken out the same crown in 2014.

Ainsbury will travel to Miami, USA, in September to represent Australia at the global competition, where he ranked fifth two years ago.

"I am proud, humbled and honoured to be representing Australia on the global stage once again. Having experience in the global finals under my belt will hopefully prove to be an advantage but I can tell you the nerves will never settle. I am driven, passionate and determined to bring the title back home to Australia,” he said.

In order to claim the national title, Ainsbury was pitted against 24 of the nation’s best bartenders across four cocktail challenges: Bottled Cocktails, Against the Clock, Culinary Cocktail Champions and Ketel One Craft.

The category winners were:

  • ‘Bottled Cocktails: Andrea Gualdi from Maybe Frank, Sydney
  • ‘Against the Clock: Kal Moore from The Gresham, Brisbane
  • ‘Culinary Cocktail Companions’: Edward Quatermass from Maker, South Brisbane
  • ‘Ketel One Craft: Jack Sotti from Boilermaker House, Melbourne (a previous Australian Bartender of the Year winner)

Each challenge was hosted and judged by a panel of local and international experts including founder of award winning London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana; 11th generation of Nolet Distillers at Ketel One Vodka, Bob Nolet; head chef and owner of Mister Jennings, Ryan Flaherty and 2012 World Class Global Champion and bar owner, Tim Philips.

The 25 finalists were scored on merit of artistry, innovation, creativity, balance, technique, visual aesthetic, presentation theatre and the overall ‘X-Factor’.

Ainsbury opened his Sydney bar, This Must Be The Place, with another Australian Bartender of the Year, Luke Ashton, in February last year.


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