Now in its second year, Enter The Dragon broadened its scope to include not only Australian hopefuls but New Zealand’s elite, making this a truly trans-Tasman competition. Competitors were also tasked with using Australian native flavours in their cocktail creations.
Jason Crawley of The Drink Cabinet, said, “We’ve been overwhelmed by the calibre of this year’s entrants, with an inspiring mix of well-established and hotly tipped bartenders entering the competition, including three finalists from this year’s Australian Bartender of the Year”.
The stage is now set for the nail-biting final in Melbourne on 13 November, with all vying to win the once-in-a-lifetime trip to China.
The initial process asked bartenders to submit their unique cocktail recipe, before official judging commenced. Participants then had to present their Moutai-inspired masterpieces, delivering a five-minute demonstration of their inventiveness and precision in front of the panel of esteemed judges.
The ‘Enter The Dragon’ top ten finalists and their cocktails are:
- Kevin Peters, Garden State Hotel, VIC – ‘Year of The Snake’
- Jono Carr, Kittyhawk, NSW – ‘It’s Always Sunny in Guizhou Province’
- Joe Singara. Halford, WA – ‘Lucky 8’
- Quynh Van Nguyen, Charlie Parker’s, NSW – ‘It’s Native Fizz Thyme’
- Tom Kearney, Mechanics Institute, WA – ‘The End of The Dragon’
- Phillip Weber, El Grotto, WA – ‘Shaolin Sour’
- Ray Letoa, Roxy Cinema, NZ – ‘Descendants Elixir’
- Jack Krzywdzinski, The 18th Amendment, VIC – ‘Honorary Native’
- Thomas Egan, New Gold Mountain VIC – ‘Xiao Long’
- Benjamin Parton, The Barlow Room SA – ‘Shuang Fizz’
At last night’s reveal party, where guests sipped on The Drink Cabinet’s Moutai cocktails, indulged on Peking Duck pancakes by Holy Duck, and were treated to tunes spun by local musical legend DJ Levins, Jenny Chiu, Moutai’s Brand Manager, said:
“The response to this year’s Enter The Dragon competition has been incredible with more entrants than ever before, and the creative standard on display nothing short of immense. It is inspiring to see so many bartenders appreciating the broad spectrum and uniqueness of Moutai flavours. The competition has showcased that top-flight bartenders can tie Moutai with native flavours, and use their creative genius to produce meaningful cocktails that the Australian market both understands and enjoys”.
The final cocktail combat will take place on 13 November at QT Melbourne, where one lucky bartender will become the next reigning Moutai master.