Last week saw a three day contest of cocktails play out.
Mastery was tested and classics given a twist in a vacant, wintry Zeta.
Drinks were paired with some of the finest food to be had in Sydney at Rockpool, and almost uniformly garnished with dill.
Speed & taste played out at Victoria Room, and a minutes walk away at Eau de Vie, knowledge and execution of the classics rounded out the tests. World Class Australia has wrapped.
I was lucky enough to be involved across the few days, and there were a few things that stood out.
Firstly, the state of Australian bartending is excellent. Exposure to the movement that has been gaining momentum around the globe these last few years has come in the form of the Australian birthright of an OE, an ever increasing body of work online and in print, the investment by the liquor giants in expansive training programs and the small bar movement that has real momentum around the country, far beyond its spiritual home tucked down the lanes of Melbourne.
Exposure was manifest in the talent on show last week. Whether from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney or WA, every single person behind the stick showed passion and ability that augers good things for the Australian bar industry and any punter wanting a properly good drink.
Secondly, there are few things as dangerous and as beautiful as shots of Jose Cuervo Platino flowing down a custom luge of ice.
Thirdly, it’s no longer the domain of just one person at the top of each comp. Second and third went to Dr Phil from Eau de Vie and Marco Nuñez from Canvas in Brisbane respectively. Phil is a brilliantly nerdy Wondrich-in-waiting, reading and researching voraciously while stirring up possibly the best half and half martini I have had in my my life. Marco brings undeniable charm and an energetic Latin flair that negates any need for tossed bottles, his drinks are epic too.
I’m sure the rest weren’t very many marks behind, there were standout drinks from all quarters. I’ll post some more of them as the photos trickle in.
Fourthly, I should not be left in charge of a bottle of Zacapa XO, ever. It will be as though it never existed, I will make no apologies.
Lastly, as they say in the Highlander, there can be only one. This time, that one is Tim Philips. ex Milk & Honey, ex Black Pearl, ex UK Bartender of the year, current flatmate of Robb Sloan and bartender at level 6 at the Ivy. Tim is a class act, attentive and outgoing behind and in front of the bar. Knowledgeable to a fault and in possession of a wickedly sharp sense of humour, visible in part over at his blog, drinktheshitoutofit. I wait in vain for him to start releasing instructional videos.
This one time Melburnian will now fly to the wonderfully vibrant country that is India to take place in the global contest to crown a new World Class bartender. The winner gets accolades, a book deal and plenty more. Best of luck Tim, I really hope you win.
At least maybe now people will stop spelling your name with two L’s.