Ichi-go, ichi-e (one chance, one encounter)
Japanese whisky master Nikka is thrilled to announce that bartender Asteris Psarras from BOHÈME, Greece was awarded the winner of Nikka’s Perfect Serve competition, with the global final taking place at The Everleigh in Melbourne on Monday.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Nikka Perfect Serve competition and is the first time it has taken place in Australia. Melbourne’s unparalleled passion for hospitality and drink made it the ideal city for this year’s global final with award-winning cocktail bar The Everleigh being selected due its recognition by bartenders globally.
Along with the prestigious prize, Asteris has been awarded a trip to Japan to experience the Japanese bar scene along with visits to all of Japan’s Nikka distilleries. Asteris displayed a playful and cool nature to the judges throughout his presentation.
The runner-up prize was awarded to American bartender Jena Ellenwood from Dear Irving, New York, with her 15 years of experience showcasing an entertaining presentation using a unique selection of ingredients including Vegemite.
Unlike other global bartending competitions, Nikka Perfect Serve encourages bartenders to place the guest at the heart of the bar experience, rather than ingredients or mixology. This is how the Japanese philosophy “ichi-go, ichi-e”, translated into English as “one chance, one encounter”, plays into the role of the competition.
To score highly, bartenders must be attentive and intuitive of their guest’s presence, state of mind and palate in order to offer the most suitable service and cocktail at that specific moment, this process is just as important as the cocktail itself.
Nikka Perfect Serve Global Final judge Emiko Kaji said, “When I saw the impressive ingredient list from all of the bartenders, I knew this was going to be a great competition.”
Off the back of yesterday’s competition final at The Everleigh, Nikka will be including Australia as a regional competition destination in 2020, giving Australian bartenders the new opportunity to be part of this globally recognised contest.
This year, bartenders represented France, England, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands and USA. Twelve regional competitions were held earlier this year in Europe and the USA with the winner of each regional competition being selected to travel to Melbourne for the final.
Nikka Perfect Serve Global Final 2019 judges included:
- Rogerio Igarashi Vaz – owner and head bartender of Bar Trench and Bar Tram, Tokyo.
- Erik Lorincz – owner and head bartender of Kw?nt Bar, London.
- Emiko Kaji – International Business Development manager of Nikka Whisky Japan.
The philosophy and concept behind Nikka Perfect Serve started in 2009 in Paris and was developed in collaboration with Nikka Whisky hospitality advocate Stanislav Vadrna. Since this time, global final competitions have been held in a different city every year including New York, Rome and Paris.