The Perfect Blend Cocktail Competition Regional Finals Kick Off with our Biggest Year Yet!

The first Regional Final for The Perfect Blend Cocktail Competition 2024 was held in Sydney on Monday, March 4th.

Our energetic group of Hospitality Professionals from across NSW & ACT, met at Ora before embarking on a flavour and education experience of ‘The Art of Japanese Hospitality’.

Our largest Regional Final heat ever saw 27 finalists (13 Apprentice Category and 14 Professional Category) take part in the required stages of the competition.

Starting the day with a Blind Tasting (10%) and Product Knowledge Test (25%), to kick off the formalities, all as part of the stages of the competition.

Once that was out of the way, the finalists could relax (and breathe!) and settle into an intimate and informative hands-on session, learning from Ora’s Head Chef Nobuyuki Ura with the ‘Art of Japanese Precision’ workshop.

Chef Nobu demonstrated the value of accuracy, exploring Japanese craftsmanship, delicate garnish creation, knife skills, and food pairing.

Moving from the kitchen to the bar, finalists were treated to an exclusive tasting of Suntory 100-year Prestige Whisky inclusive of, Yamazaki 18 Year Old and Hakushu 18 Year Old, by James Bowker, our gregarious Global House of Suntory Ambassador.

Evening festivities carried on to Tokyo Bird in Surry Hills, where co-owner Yoshi Onishi opened the dinner formalities to share his experience of the competition (back in the day when Yoshi was a finalist). He then shared the inspiration behind the venue and his love for Japan. He and the team hosted the finalists to a delicious dinner. (Insert food coma here.)


Day (2) two and Day (3) three, COMPETITION Day!

Professional Category took to the stage day 2 (two), Apprentice Category on day three (3).

This Regional Final saw another group of finalists competing for the very first time – although you wouldn’t have known by the strength and confidence of each performance. The Perfect Blend also welcomed back a few finalists, all vying for another attempt at the title!

The competition days saw finalists take to the stage, in which each had their 6 minutes of fame to present their ‘Personality or Tradition‘ Cocktail in front of their fellow competitors and a judging panel consisting of Alice Newport, Joey Chisholm, Josh Davies, James Bowker, Rhianna Lucas, Sarah Priotetti and Yoshi Onishi!

Before competition day, finalists were required to promote their signature creations within their respective venues for a total of two (2) weeks, to celebrate World Bartender Day. Points toward their final scores were awarded on their approach to this component of this competition. (25% of their final score)


After the incredibly awe-inspiring presentations had concluded, Saké in The Rocks hosted the finalists to an intimate Welcome dinner, opening with a James B. Beam tasting by Alice Newport, the National James B. Beam Distilling Co. Ambassador.

It was here they were able to relax and enjoy time together before the announcement. The judges deliberated, and scores were in.

The NSW/ACT Regional Final winners were announced…

drum roll please….

Apprentice Category winner was awarded to that of a first time ever competitor, Jonathon Nati from Banco in Manly.

Back for a second time into the competition, may we add 8 years later! Joe Worthington taking out Professional Category from Applejack Hospitality.

Jonathon and Joe will now proceed to the Grand Final held in Queenstown, New Zealand, with the 10 other state finalist winners yet to be announced.





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