On the 21st March the stage was set (again) at the well-known industry hangout Cliff Dive in Sydney with The Blend members filling the venue to cheer on the 10 bartending contenders ( 5 in the Apprentice and 5 in the Professional category), all vying for their chance to compete at the National final experience held in a location yet to be revealed at the end of May.
On the day of the competition, finalists were put through their paces with a series of technical challenges, before they had the opportunity to flaunt their bartending chops, in front of a live audience, the final presentation of their signature creation.
Like the other states, the finalists each had to partake in a product knowledge test and blind tasting, all which weighted toward their final score which would inevitably reveal the state winners.
As well as the extroverted and erudite Ambassadors Michael Nouri, and Luke Hanzlicek guest judges were in attendance to keep a close eye on the action, assessing each bartender on their individual cocktail demonstration of their submission to The Perfect Blend, in front of the invited guests. Guest judges included the notable Sam Bygrave, editor of Australian Bartender Magazine, and lastly someone who is extremely familiar with this industry and knows what makes a great cocktail- Mikey Enright, who also owns The Barbershop Sydney, and Gin & it.
Dale and Kate will now proceed to the National final held in a secret location with the 8 other state finalist winners.
One more to go! QLD here we come, to indulge in a piece of the action log onto www.the-blend.com.au to RSVP.
NSW FINALISTS (In no particular order)
1. ANDREAS NIELSEN –
2. DALE SCHOON- Earls Juke Joint
3. MICHIEL CARTEUS- Marble Bar
4. CHRISTIAN LEIBENATUS- Wild Water Grill
5. LEWIS COX- Eau De Vie
1. KATE MCGRAW- Lotus Group
2. TOBY HISCOX- Casoni
3. JOE WORTHINGTON- Della Hyde
4. ALISSA GABRIEL- Eau De Vie
5. JONO CARR- Archie Rose
Dale SchoonAlligator Wine
45ml Laphroaig Select Cask
15ml Peychauds Bitters
15ml Fresh Lemon juice
15ml Pok Pok Som pineapple drinking vinegar
15ml Egg white
You So Pine
Garnish: Edible Viola Flowers
Method: Shake, double strain
45ml Hibiki Harmony
25ml Lemon Aspen Shrub
10ml Yuzu juice
10ml Sugar Syrup
2 drops House brewed lavender & red grapefruit bitters