Awards, Competitions, Sydney

2010 Australian Bar Awards Results – Now with Photos

It all happened at the Hilton last night, with Bar week drawing closer to a close.

A broad representation of the industry filled the ballroom, to hear the results, to celebrate ten years of the awards and to have a decent crack at getting smashed, responsibly, of course.

Ian Burrell, Ambassador of Rum with Priscilla from Sou Soul in Melbourne

Ian Burrell, Ambassador of Rum with Priscilla from Sou Soul in Melbourne

Anyhoo, you’re probably reading this because you weren’t at the awards, or you were there but pushed the boat out a touch too far.

Best New Launched Product.

Miss Russia at the Bar Awards

Miss Russia at the Bar Awards

The first award of the night went to Russian Standard vodka. Beam Global administer the brand here in Australia, but they bought a little Russian charm to the event, in the guise of Miss Russia. The leggy model’s purr and smile quickly caught the attention of the room, and ever the entrepreneu, Dave Spanton capitalised , auctioning thirty minutes of her company off to charity. Perhaps the surprise of the evening was that Cafe Pacifico’s Phil Bayly was the man with his hand in the air. I hope she likes tequila.

Best Training Program

Went to the boys from Diageo’s Alchemy. Investment in training is ever increasing in the market here, with legends of bartending being flown around the globe to teach, train and tour the lucky country.

Brand Ambassador of the Year

The Mixxit team must have only missed out by a whisker of winning the best program prize. Dylan Howarth managed to scrape back some semblance of honour taking out the individual award.

Small Stand Award

Without question went to Bacardi, the Blind Tiger speakeasy, overseen by the debonair David Cordoba, international daiquiri ambassador. It was all about story, setting and sharing the love and passion that goes into making the world’s favourite white rum and the simple expression of sugar, sour & strong; perfectly diluted into a very special dream state.

Large Stand Award

Goes to Philip Morris. They wouldn’t let me in last year, and I didn’t try this, so they obviously aren’t in it for the PR.

Cocktail List

Brisbane bar, The Bowery, takes out this prestigious prize. I really sweet speech shows just how much the recognition means.

Best Food Offering

Team Laruche after claiming their prize

Team Laruche after claiming their prize

Laruche, again from up in Brisbane, takes out the prize. Might be time to book a flight and go and check out my Northern neighbor.

New Venue Design

Down scale speakeasy-cum-saloon, Shady Pines, takes home the bacon. Special shout outs to eBay and Bunnings for supplying the goods.

Best Drinks Selection

This can be found at the Crown & Sceptre in Adelaide. Might have to visit the festival state too.

Bar Manager of the Year

Sebastian Derbomez from Hemmesphere takes out this one. His speech is great, for the first two minutes. After that he starts to ramble about the lot of Bar Managers everywhere. Dave Spanton finally intervenes. Bravo.

Best Marketed Venue

Lee from the Victoria Room has some kind words to say about family run and owned venues. Vive la petite revolution! While he claims to have no knowledge of marketing, his plug for the Fluffy Duck Blazer would make any spruiker proud.

Best Nightclub

The lights go down for Kit & Kaboodle. Teamwork seems to have deserted them as they fumble the thankyous in the speech. No one knows this now, but they’ll have another chance after dinner.

Outstanding Contribution

Naren Young at the Sydney Bar Awards

"I owe it all to Tom Cruise" Naren Young has a few words on making an outstanding contribution

Naren Young deservedly honoured for his efforts behind the bar and in articulating the whole thing in words too. His speech is great, starting with an acknowledgement of the role of Tom Cruise in his career, and that inability to grow a beard is no impediment to making a contribution. His thanks at the end are heartfelt and more than a few eyes aren’t dry around the room.

Best Bar Team

Rollicking on to the stage with no shortage of gay abandon, the team from the Black Pearl in Melbourne proudly lift the trophy, and the new addition to the Hysted repertoire, the finger mustache. Curled, of course.

Best Specialty Beer Venue

Goes to the Local Taphouse, from Sydney. “Beer is the new black” a five word speech that says it all.

Best Wine Bar

Team Gazebo takes it out again, only t his time it’s the new venue in Crown St, The Winery, that will have an award upside down on the roof.

Rookie of the Year

Goes to the stunning and talented Elle Wormald, from Eau de Vie. Great to see a lady taking away one of the individual prizes. Hopefully a sign of great things to come.

Best Operator – Single Venue

Sebastian, Liz and Lisa from 1806 in Melbourne take out the prize.

Best Small Bar

Little laneway legend, Grasshopper, from Sydney takes this one out. Great to see the small bar legislation working well.

Cocktail Bar of the Year

Jason Crawley kicks things off with a great joke about whales. The winner is a whale of the industry, Der Raum, from the streets of Melbourne takes it out. Flavour fog ahoy!

Best Music Venue

X&Y from Brisbane take this one away. Can you hear the people sing?

Best New Bar

Eau de Vie gets an award! Great result for Sven and the team. Consumer recognition from Gourmet traveller and now the trade. This place is my favourite bar for a reason.

Hotel of the Year

The multi faceted Ivy proves you can in fact be all things to all people…

Multiple Venue Owner

Keystone Hospitality lift the trophy.

New Hotel of the Year

The Flinders Hotel gets an award! Most of the folks who aren’t already there are going now. Make mine a Red Hook!

Bar of the Year

Hugos Manly proves there is a reason to visit the insular peninsular.

Bartender of the Year

Bartenders get the girls - Jason Williams with his prize

Bartenders get the girls - Bartender of the Year, Jason Williams with his prize

Jason Williams from the Galley Room in Melbourne takes the top prize. Adam Brewer from Cloudland in Brisbane 3rd & Chris Denman from X&Y came 2nd.

Gratuitous Spanton Shot

Gratuitous Spanton Shot

It was a great night and showcased the strength and development of the bar industry in Australia. Well done to the Spanton team and all the winners.

Competitions, Event

World Class Results

Adam Brewer of Brisbane’s Sling Lounge is going to Greece, after pipping last year’s winner Adi Ruiz of The Black Pearl to take the honours at last night’s Diageo World Class finals.

Click on the link above, if you’ve got a spare twenty minutes, and read through the epic 67 page cocktail list, it contains 266 cocktails, plenty of mistakes and a host of contradictions. I’d heard Brisbane needs education on the cocktail scene, but this seems a little ridiculous.

I’ll write more on the event last night once I’ve got some images to go with it.

Cocktail, Competitions, New Zealand

42 Below Cocktail World Cup Grand Final Redux

My massive week with 42  Below finished up last Saturday with the finals of Cocktail World Cup. The competition was the brainchild of founder, Geoff Ross. Now in its 6th year, the World Cup sees bartenders from around the world challenged to develop and produce a cocktail to rival the classics, extra marks are awarded for delivering the drink with humour and style that reflects the brands values as well.

Heaps of brands now fly bartenders to the country of production to provide them an “authentic” brand experience. 42 lets the animal out of the cage, good and proper. The whole deal was promoted as a Love, Drinks and Rock’n’Roll, which is how a lawyer references the excesses of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll.

The final itself is the culmination of many months, semifinals around the world determine who gets to go down to New Zealand, experience the brand in its home. I thought I’d share a little piece of the finals with you, the teams, their drinks and the event itself. It’s not quite the same as being there, but as there were only 600 tickets, chances are you weren’t.

Get amongst, after the jump.

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Competitions, New Zealand

USA takes the Trophy!!!

It was a close run thing but the USA are winners of the Cocktail World Cup. All the teams were highly impressive but the Bonded Applejack drink these boys put up. More detail and the liveblog can be found over wit Camper at Alcademics.

Can’t wait to have the drink, and I’ll tack down the recipe for you all tomorrow.

Thanks to a quick read by 42’s Professor of vodka, Jacob Briars, I happily stand corrected. USA’s winning drink was the “Thyme of my life”. The Applejack featured in the bitters the boys made up.

The Thyme of my Life

45mls 42 Below Pure, 30mls Cynar, 45mls lime and thyme syrup, 3 dashes apple bitters (90% 42 Pure, 10% bonded Applejack) stirred over ice and grnished with a compressed apple garnish.

Photo tomorrow.

Event, New Zealand

The Luck of the Irish

The 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup is all about making extraordinary cocktails in  extraordinary environments. Many of the challenges are judged on the originality and creativity of the drinks, but when it comes to measuring the skills of a true bartender, one drink sets the benchmark- the classic Martini. “Modern Martini’ was the fourth challenge in the 2010 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, the eight teams all preparing their version of the timeless drink.

The panel of four international judges recommended contestants keep things simple for this round, and that was exactly what the winners did. The competition’s loveable, if slightly loud, rogues- Team Ireland, taking it by the slightest of margins. Their appropriately titled ‘Kia Kaha’ (meaning ‘stand strong’ in Maori) was made of 42BELOW Pure, Lillet Blanc and sprayed with a Feijoa mist. In typical Irish style, the team came up with their winning entry on the bus on the way to the event! “I’m truly blown away to have won tonight, we’ve been gutted every time we have lost a challenge, we really wanted to do this for each other” says Team Ireland big man Andy Wall. US Bartender of the Year and our esteemed judge Jim Meehan said the Irish entry stood out for its simplicity and elegance, “it’s a drink I would be proud to serve in my bar,” said Meehan.

The Modern Martini challenge was the first event to be held in Wellington in the lead up to the grand final on Saturday March 27th, where the teams will prepare their signature drink for a live audience.

The convoy of bartenders, international judges and media had the ultimate ending to the Queenstown leg of the cup, being taken by helicopter from the Skyliner Gondola to the airport for their own rock ‘n’ roll charter flight. It was an inflight experience like never before, passengers provided with rock star wigs and glasses while sipping on a 42BELOW ‘Aviation’ cocktail and listening to AC/DC on takeoff. The plane was met by a scrum of local ‘papparazzi’ as they transferred to their stretch limos for a brief tour of the capital. “It’s the closest we’ll ever get to being real rock stars. I’ve never been treated so well before,  it was stupidly good,” says Australian team member and the country’s bartender of the year Chris Hysted.

Kia Kaha

50ml 42BELOW Pure
20ml Lillet Blanc
42Below Feijoa Vodka mist

Event, New Zealand

The Kiwis bash one out

The New Zealand team notched up a challenge win in Sunshine Bay on Lake Wakatipu yesterday, with their special it’s 42bro, served up in a sawn off 420 water bottle.

The challenge took all of 8 minutes for each team, with a random box of ingredients being provided and teams getting bonus points for using more ingredients but still producing a balanced drink.

It’s 42 bro

42BELOW Vodka
Jose Cuervo tradicional
Fresh apricot
‘Rocket’ sauce
Vanilla sugar
Chestnut syrup
English Breakfast tea syrup
Peychaud’s Bitters

Muddle Rocket sauce and apricots,  add all ingredients, shake and strain. Garnish with chopped,  fresh papaya sprinkled with vanilla sugar and grapefruit zest.

Event, New Zealand

Smack in the Face?

No, not really. This is a post about Punch, the community liquor that really is quicker.

Last night at the house of one of the men credited with the lyrics for Eye of the Tiger, 42Below rocked out, with the second Cocktail World Cup Challenge, the 21st Century Punch contest. The Americans came away with a win, serving up their punch in hollowed out mangosteens, topped with a passionfruit vodka ‘cloud’

I’ve got a recipe coming, but you’ll have to come back for that.


42BELOW Honey
42BELOW Passionfruit
Sazerac Rye
white rum
NZ Sauvignon Blanc
passionfruit juice
Sencha green tea
fresh passionfruit
luxardo cherries
Lemon Juice
Champagne to taste
Serve with Passionfruit balls.

Other highlights of the night were getting a drink made for by both Chris Hysted, Australian Bartender of the Year & Jim Meehan, American Bartender of the Year.

Event, New Zealand

Mocktail Challenge on the Shotover Jet

Challenge One is done and dusted, with teams mixing up a modern mocktail using fresh fruits, Monin syrups and juices. Team Australia came away with the win, with Chris Hysted managing to keep at least some of the drink in the glass and get it to Justin Mackenzie and get top scores.

Tonight they’ll ride to the Punch Party on Harley Davisons, like the rockstars they are.