Schweppes Australia’s Best G&T Competition Wrap-Up

Dominique on her way to victory.

If you missed the show, then you missed an opportunity to see some standout bartenders take each other on.

For the second year in a row Sydney BarShow Week played host to one of Australia’s most challenging – and innovative – cocktail competitions, the Schweppes Australia’s Best G&T Competition. Challenging and innovative because with such a humble cocktail as the traditional G&T to work with, those barkeeps that take on this mighty crusade have to test all areas of original thinking in order to keep ahead of the game.

The Winning Drink


Dominique's winning cocktail

“This year’s competition built on the success of last year and went to a whole new level,” said Michael da Costa-Alves, General Manager On-Premise Schweppes Australia. “We also introduced a team prize, which allowed for recognition of the best bar team in addition to the individual award.”

Having been on hand to judge the competition in 2010, da Costa-Alves was mightily impressed with those who made this year’s final. “The quality of the 2011 finalists on the whole was as good, if not better, than last year – certainly I think the level of creativity and innovation went up a notch.”

Last year, Tim Greening took out the top spot with a concoction that mixed liquid nitrogen with the subtleties of home made lemon sorbet. This time around Dominique Cacioli’s (Pandora’s Box, Melbourne) cucumber and Schweppes Tonic granita, suspended over Hendrix Gin and Sense Rose Liqueur, served with a side of ice cold Schweppes Tonic Water and lemon zest took the judges eye. “It’s pretty much summer fun in a glass!” said an elated Cacioli after her win was announced.

“The competition was great,” Cacioli continued. “[The competitors] had clear ideas and are really talented. Everyone seemed to get along well and were interested in how we came up with the ideas. It was a privilege to meet such sweet people.”

“It’s a credit to this year’s finalists that they were able to raise the bar from Tim’s benchmark,” da Costa-Alves said once the competition had wrapped up. “In 2011 we saw innovative variations on the classic G&T using regional ingredients, all the way to G&T caviar and Schweppes Tonic Water pancakes – there was a very impressive array of drinks and local flavours from Australia.”

So with such a simple cocktail as the challenge, how do the competitors go about creating something new and unique? “The G&T is a classic drink and the competition changed and opened my views on how this timeless tipple is perceived, made and imbibed,” said Cacioli. “The possibilities are endless – just think outside the box!”

In a good year for the girls, Dominique headed a host of female finalists that included, Erin Shaw (Cushdy, Adelaide) and Jessica Arnott (Victoria Room, Sydney). Not to leave the boys out however, Ben Tua (Mint, Perth), David Green (Goldfish, Hunter Valley) and Nitin Tewari (The Stanford Plaza, Adelaide) all performed admirably on the Schweppes Mixology Stage – with Ben Tua going some way to show his stand-up comedy skills. For such a sterling effort Dominique heads to New York City with $2,000 spending money. Not bad with the current exchange rate!

Australia’s Best G&T Venue

Sydney tippling haunt Eau De Vie also picked up the ‘Best G&T Venue’ award as voted for by consumers. This competition was open to any venue that stocked Schweppes mixers, and the team win themselves a luxury experience in some of Sydney’s top restaurants and bars. Well done!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.