In April, Jordan Bushell, global ambassador for Hennessy, set the challenge for bartenders across Australia and New Zealand to break new ground for Hennessy MyWay. It was his first visit to ANZ and he wasn’t sure what to expect.

In reply, Hennessy received a record-breaking number of cocktail creations, with over 30 talented bartenders from Australia and New Zealand submitting entries. Showcasing their passion for using Hennessy V.S and Hennessy V.S.O.P, their creations focused on sustainability and service ritual to create unforgettable cocktails. This marked the single highest number of entries by region—no small feat for a global competition.

And as a result? A staggering 8 finalists from Australia have been selected to be part of the Global Top 50. An unprecedented representation from any single country, well and truly making ANZ’s mark on the Hennessy world-stage. Here, we discover these talented 8 finalists.

We start with Marco Manta from Bar Lafayette in Perth, and his creation Voyager using Hennessy V.S.O.P. In the creation of this cocktail, Marco embraced Hennessy’s own sustainability efforts and history, charting Hennessy’s export timeline. Marco’s cocktail centred around cocoa with recycled cocoa husks, leftover extra ripe strawberries, lemongrass waste stalks and tapioca, an “ingredient accessible to everyone” as a sustainable community element.

Kieron Sommer from The Baxter Inn Sydney
showcased his cocktail The Core as a hyper local twist on a Hennessy Apple. To start, Kieron chose to omit ice “I didn’t want to use any ice in the drink… Sydney is a city not unfamiliar to droughts, and water scarcity is an issue …all over the world.” The cocktail featured leftover apple pulp from service and a local mint variety grown on Sommer’s balcony, inspired by his time volunteering at Sydney City Farm.

Jin Hau (Jonathan) Tsang of W Churchill dreamt up his cocktail Exotic Twist with Hennessy V.S., which utilises every part of the sustainably grown Zespri SunGold Kiwi Fruit, including the skin, to create and garnish his creation.

Benjamin Thomson from The Rechabite Hall Perth imagined sustainability as saving ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste to make Breakfast at Benjamin’s. His Hennessy V.S.O.P cocktail featured stale croissants and coffee grounds from local cafes, waste limes from the restaurant bar, overripe figs from a friend’s tree and off-cut florals from a local florist, all served in a breathtaking display.

Jordon Pridham based at Ambra Spirits in South Australia presents Bush Remedy, based on leftover ingredients, local foraging, and fermentation to boost shelf-life. His inventive use of oyster shells from a local venue saw them “crushed into a powder for the liqueur sous vide process.” Alongside tea leaves from the Barossa Bush Gardens and Tonka Beans from Kangaroo Island.

In an unprecedented twist, three of the eight Australian finalists are all from cocktail innovation hotspot, Melbourne’s Mongkok Tea House with incredible creations from the bartending team Henry Li, Adam Chang, and local Hennessy legend Jack Lin.

Henry Li submitted his invention Reborn as “a thoughtful approach to sustainability, from ingredient selection to preparation techniques and presentation aesthetics”. His Hennessy V.S.O.P cocktail featured a multi-faceted approach to sustainable ingredient sourcing and techniques including usage of corn silk, dried onion stem, dried spring onion and dried mandarin peel powder alongside the “Reborn Biscuit,” utilising food scraps and pastry.

Adam Chang’s ode to sustainability with Wine Way, demonstrates his ethos that “From a bartender’s perspective, sustainability transcends mere conservation; it embodies innovation and responsibility. It’s about maximizing the utility of every ingredient, even those past their prime,” to tell the story of Hennessy’s own creation in utilising the grape and oxidised red wine with leftover coffee grounds.

Lastly, Jack Lin submitted his show stopping Smoke & Mirrors, presented at the Melbourne Hennessy MyWay Masterclass. Featuring Hennessy V.S.O.P, Sunflower Seed Shell Umeshu, fully utilised locally grown citrus ingredients and aquafaba as a by-product the cocktail presents as creating a unique and flavourful drink that promotes eco-friendly and resource-efficient methods in mixology. The cocktail is served in it’s own alter of recycled materials, seaweed, dried flowers and a traditional chinese tea set.

The Top 50 bartenders receive €1000 ($1,600 AUD) cash prize, a Bottle of Hennessy X.O (valued at $385) and the invitation to submit a new entry for Top 10, with a 1 in 5 chance of making it through. We wish the 8 stellar Australian bartender talent all the best as they invent their new entry!

Stay tuned for updates on our talented Top 50 as they vie for Top 10 status.