Diageo WORLD CLASS, the drinks industry’s most respected international bartending competition, has revealed Australia’s Best Bartenders for 2021. Evan Stroeve (RE, Sydney), Kayla Saito (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Melbourne) and David Aznar (Rosella’s, Gold Coast) were selected from hundreds of bartending superstars and will now compete in the Australian finals on Tuesday 27th April.
The 2021 Australian competition saw bartenders compete in a new digital format, where they lodged their drinks via the Diageo Bar Academy before competing in a series of challenges where they used Diageo Reserve Brands to experiment with flavour, balance and creativity, across Don Julio tequila, Ketel One vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, and Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky.
Evan Stroeve (RE, Sydney), Kayla Saito (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Melbourne) and David Aznar (Rosella’s, Gold Coast) were selected from hundreds of bartending superstars and will now compete in the Australian finals on Tuesday 27th April.
The top 100 finalists were given their final task, where they were asked to create their own take on a “Surprisingly Delicious” Johnnie Walker Highball. All three finalists exceeded all expectations, producing the most consistent and beautifully curated highballs.
On 27th April, the World Class Australian finals will take place at the home of World Class Cocktail Festival, Paramount House Golden Age Bar, where the finalists will go head to head across three separate challenges in the fight to be crowned this year’s Australian World Class Bartender of the Year.
The challenges include:
CHALLENGE 1 – FUTURE PROOF, SUSTAINABLY BOTTLED
KETEL ONE VODKA has been at the heart of supporting local communities in order to help create better drinking trends across the globe.
This challenge asks the finalists to draw inspiration from the past in order to create a meaningful impact for our future by creating a bottles cocktail using Ketel One Vodka with minimal waste and maximum flavour.
CHALLENGE 2 – LAND & SEA, MYSTERY BOX
Australia is home to the sixth largest coastline in the world, with a vast and rich desert with native and iconic flora and fauna.
This challenge will ask the finalists to create a mystery box serve that embodies the land or sea using either Talisker 10 Year Old or Don Julio, with a small pantry of classic bar ingredients.
CHALLENGE 3 – SPEED ROUND
To finish off with a bang, the finalists will take their place on the Main Stage at the Golden Age Bar with music and a live audience, for an energetic speed round to test their skills using the Diageo Reserve Portfolio.
Krystal Hart, Australia’s WORLD CLASS Ambassador, added: “WORLD CLASS is a phenomenal cocktail competition that each year reaffirms just how impressive our bar industry is. The challenges are designed to not only test how the bartenders use the Diageo Reserve brands to experiment with flavour and balance, but also how they showcase their personality and story behind their serve.
“After 2020, it has been incredible to see first-hand the resilience and creativity from all of the entries across Australia. Our top three have fought a fierce fight and we can’t wait to see these extremely talented cocktail leaders battle it out to be crowned this year’s Australian World Class Bartender of the year.”
The crowned Australian World Class Bartender of the Year will go on to represent Australia virtually in the global
World Class Bartender of the Year finals in July.
To celebrate the crowning of this year’s winner, from Wednesday 28th April the bustling suburb of Surry Hills and Sydney’s CBD will come alive with the World Class Cocktail Festival, five days of bespoke cocktails, live entertainment, pop-up events, immersive brand experiences and dining collaborations, all championing the very best of Sydney’s diverse bar scene. For more information on The World Class Cocktail Festival the programme can be found at www.worldclasscocktailfestival.com