We now know the name of the FAIR. Bartender of the year 2018! On the 24th September, at Big Poppa’s in Sydney, Vincent Valliere, from Pelicano in Sydney won this new breed of competition with his amazing ethical cocktail creation “Bananodrama”.
He competed alongside eight top national FAIR. Bartenders who had all passed the first round of the competition. All of them showed impressive skills, commitment and passion!
Bonnie Nicol, from The Woods of Windsor in Melbourne, came second with her cocktail “Make FAIR. Assam-ptions” served in a tea cup using FAIR. Belize Rum XO and FAIR. Cacao Liqueur Assam tea. The third position was awarded to Mark Shannon from Varnish on King in Perth. Mark grew up surrounded by rescued hens and made a very original concoction using eggs in his cocktail – he called it “FAIR. Dinkum”!
It wasn’t easy for the jury to choose! The four members, Amy Botta from Fairtrade ANZ, Corinne Mossati from Cocktails & Bars and Gourmantic, David Spanton from Australian Bartender Magazine and Sam Egerton, Merivale’s Group Cocktail Manager, had to judge candidates both on their bartending skills and respect of the sustainable themes.
Vincent’s presentation was quite a show! It stood out as a combination of strong sustainable commitment, and a meticulously wonderful recipe that complimented the FAIR. products chosen.
The cocktail ‘Bananodrama’, made using FAIR. Belize Rum XO and FAIR. Café Liqueur, was served in ‘glassware’ made from banana leaves and was designed to raise awareness of the banana crisis currently happening in Bolivia. Using banana for his glassware and recipe, Vincent showed us that if we were all to support bananas, there would indeed be “no drama”.
ABOUT THE COMPETITION.
FAIR., the world’s first Fairtrade certified spirits brand launched this competition to raise awareness towards sustainable drinking and award best practices amongst Australian – and worldwide – venues. All eight finalists showed amazing skills, commitment and passion.
Vincent won a trip to Bolivia, where he will be joined by other international winners for a once in a lifetime, off the beaten track experience. Going deep into rural Bolivia, they will witness farmers harvesting the quinoa that goes into FAIR’s delicious vodka.
The competition saw more than 60 entries from all over Australia and finalists were judged on the originality of the cocktail, how well they embodied the FAIR. ethos, and their willingness and ability to help change the industry.
- ‘Balmain Lux’ by Lachlan Gunner at Wilhelmina’s in NSW, using FAIR. Vodka.
The inspiration behind Balmain Lux was the desire to meet the growing consumer demands of sustainability in a positive way. His cocktail was a message that highlights the connection between demand for luxury items with the need to implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices around the world. The cocktail also used recycled wine and recycled glass from local producers to serve, and the venue is making changes to become more sustainable.
- ‘Circle of Life’ by Valerio Conti at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar in QLD, using FAIR. Gin
Combining high end atmosphere with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced produce, the Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar is all about keeping it real and local. The cocktail used many natural flavours like apple, bee pollen syrup, lemongrass, and mint to show the full range of ways produce can be used. In addition, the cocktail cup was handmade by Valerio using organic beeswax which is nothing short of amazing!
- ‘Fair Dinkum’ by Mark Shannon at Varnish on King in WA, using FAIR Belize Rum XO, FAIR. Cacao Liqueur, and FAIR. Kumquat Liqueur
Varnish on King lives and breathes diversity and sustainability, both within its staff and its products. All fresh and dried produce is hand selected from local ethical growers where possible, and where this isn’t possible, is sourced elsewhere without sacrificing freshness, sustainability, and ethics. They even reuse glass liquor bottles for things like syrups and table water jugs. In his cocktail, he brought a taste of home using eggs from ex-battery hens rescued by his parents.
- ‘The Dark Fairy of Belize’ by Serena Bondi at Mr and Mrs G River bar in QLD, using FAIR. Belize Rum XO and licorice-infused FAIR. Vodka
From being mindful about the pollution caused by transportation, through to sourcing locally – including wine from the vineyard next door – and donating to charity, Serena and the venues she works at are doing their part to create a strong Earth for future generations to come. Serena’s slogan for her creation was literally to “drink up one and plant a tree!” which we think sounds like a pretty great plan.
- ‘Remembering Sisa’ by Jonathan Minihan at Beneath Driver Lane in VIC, using FAIR. Vodka
Since Beneath Driver Lane opened in November 2017, they have stuck to the ethos of sustainability and ethical labor, using metal straws, “trash” ingredients, serving specialty non-alcoholic drinks (including promotions during Dry July), Fairtrade serving ware, and last but not least, hosting competitions that highlight the contribution of women to the industry.
- ‘Make FAIR Assam-ptions’ by Bonnie Nicol at The Woods of Windsor in VIC, using FAIR. Belize Rum XO and FAIR. Cacao Liqueur
In order to enter this competition, the Woods of Windsor had to make many changes to the way they run their venue, including removing plastic straws, switching to Aquafaba instead of egg whites, using “seconds” fruit, incorporating leftover ingredients from cocktail prep into the food menu, using recycled bottles as serving bottles, and sealing partially used garbage bags to be re-used instead of being thrown out every night. The cocktail itself showed creativity and great presentation, as well as using Assam tea from India, which represents so much in the Fairtrade world and is often an easy way for people to transition into buying Fairtrade. Bonnie’s intention behind this creation was to raise awareness towards the poor working conditions in India.
- ‘R&R (Rum & Rye, Rest & Relaxation)’ by Daniel Hilton at Lobo Plantation in NSW, using FAIR. Belize Rum XO and FAIR. Goji Liqueur
Lobo is about the health of the industry; emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially, ensuring its staff are well looked after. The team repurpose leftover juice, switched to paper straws, use napkins made from recycled materials, continuously encourage staff to bring forward any ideas about recycling/repurposing, and they have also kicked on an internal program to help staff build healthy and sustainable habits (including staff events which do no revolve around alcohol). Daniel himself is taking things to the next level as well, by recycling juice and fruit waste from the bar into handmade soaps.