Ones to watch in 2018: Jonothan Carr shares his tips for the Bartender of the Year comp

Jonothan Carr. Photo: Christopher Pearce
The competition in the 2017 Bartender of the Year sponsored by BACARDÍ & De Kuyper was closer than it’s ever been this year. At the end of three gruelling rounds of competition, one new entrant joins the Bartender of the Year club — this year it was Daniel Gregory.

But placing a very, very close second was Sydney-based bartender Jonothan Carr. This year was Carr’s first time through to the Top 8 final round, where they presented in from of 600 of the industry’s best and brightest bartenders, bar operators and personalities at the 2017 Bartender Magazine Australian Bar Awards. He pulled out a top performance which saw him nab the second spot.

You’ll know find Carr at new Sydney bar, Door Knock, where he’s running the bar side of things and putting out some delicious drinks.

Here he offers some tips for the competition and shares some insight into what it was like to be on stage for the final round.

Jonothan Carr – Door Knock, Sydney

This year was your first year making the Top 8 — can you tell us a bit about how you felt up on stage? You looked pretty calm.
Thank you. I think I did all my stressing during the day so by the time it came to be on stage I was just keen to do it. It’s daunting up there, 600-odd people is a few, though once you get started you can only really focus on the drinks you are making and what you hope to say. 

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Tell us a bit about the mystery box round, how did you prepare for it? You got great marks from the judges for both drinks.
I went into it with the idea of doing a stirred down cocktail to stand out from the Daiquiri we had to make. When I saw that we had Dewars 15 I decided to build an Old Fashioned in the glass because even if I ran out of time at least I could present something.  I kinda just fluked it, really.

What advice would you have for newcomers to the competition?
Each month read Australian Bartender and write down anything you don’t already know, then just revise your notes and do the practice quizzes and the exam won’t be so scary. I’ve never done this but it could work, I just cram last minute.

Will you be back to try and go one better next year?
I’ve really enjoyed it this year so sure, why not. 

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