Who won The Perfect Blend 2024 SA/NT Regional Final?

The Perfect Blend is not just a cocktail competition. Across Australia and New Zealand, regional finalists engage in an immersive experience that is unique to their state and provides an educational component to the cocktail challenge.

Our SA/NT finalists were treated to a day at The Watervale Hotel and Penobscot Farm, 2 hours north-east of Adelaide CBD, to learn about sustainability and regenerative farming. The Beam Suntory brands, in particular, Maker’s Mark, pride themselves on sustainability and being good stewards of the land, so to lead the educational experience was Rhianna Lucas, our very own National Maker’s Mark diplomat who collaboratively worked with Warrick Duthy at The Watervale Hotel.

The day began with a walk around the beautiful and expansive grounds, trying and tasting all the (unique and some unheard of) produce and learning about composting, soils, sustainability and regenerative farming. The finalists were then treated to a Maker’s Mark dinner in an old Jail cell (called the “Hell Hole”) with food fresh from the garden, curated by 2022 SA Chef of the Year, Nicola Palmer from The Watervale Hotel.

On Tuesday morning, the fifth Regional Final for The Perfect Blend competition was held at Bank Street Social. The finalists took the stage, all vying for the Regional Champion Title in either the Apprentice or Professional category. With 15 finalists, some were fresh faces, and others returned for another chance at the title.

An array of awe-inspiring talent took to the stage to present their signature creations in front of an esteemed panel of judges.

Five bartenders competed in the Apprentice Category, and ten bartenders?competed in the Professional Category. Each showed off their skills and shared their interpretation of the submission brief presented last September 2023 upon entry of The Perfect Blend.

They had to choose one of two briefs:

  1. Tradition
  2. Personality

Prior to this, they completed 10% Blind Tasting, 15% Product Knowledge test and 25% World Bartender Day listings.

After strong performances by each competitor, the time came for the announcements of who will proceed to the Grand Final. The competitors gathered for a Jim Beam Welcome Dinner, hosted at Arkhe, and awaited the results.

Who were the winners?

Drum roll please…

Apprentice SA/NT Winner Annie Thao Nguyen
Professional SA/NT Winner Alfie Simmons

In the Apprentice Category, Annie Thao Nguyen took out the top prize, while Alfie Simmons, our first-ever winner from Darwin, took out the top prize in the Professional Category.

The Perfect Blend 2024 SA/NT winners, Annie and Alfie, will now progress to the Grand Final in June, to be held in Queenstown, where they will go head-to-head with the other finalists from each Regional Final.

The Grand Finalists will compete for a trip of a lifetime, where two bartenders will head to the U.K., visiting Beam Suntory’s award-winning distilleries and IMBIBE, all while experiencing some of the World’s best bars.

One Regional Final is left… keep following on!

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