By Sacha Delfosse

Japanese bartender Manabu Ohtake has won the 2011 Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition that was held in New Delhi, India earlier this month (July).

Australia’s representative at the global finals, Tim Philips, came 6th overall.

“Look, I’m not going to lie to you, I was disappointed [at not winning]. Top 10 is nice but I’m a hard judge of myself. It’s not the end of the world though, and in terms of doors opening, you never know what the next corner will have around it,” Philips told TheShout.

Philips started his bartending career in Melbourne working at venues such as Ffour and Black Pearl before moving to London where he worked at Milk & Honey and won the 2009 UK Bartender of the Year award.

After a stint in France, managing a members cocktail bar and restaurant in Chamonix called The Clubhouse; he returned to Australia and is currently working at the exclusive Ivy Level 6 bar in Sydney.

Philips says that there was a sense of fraternity amongst the excited finalist who were all happy to help each other out despite the intense pressures of the competition.

“Once I got through I felt quite privileged to be representing Australia, but I also felt the pressure. I tweaked, re-tweaked and re-tweaked all my drinks for the competition. I needed to provide a total of 13 original drinks before I left.”

“The relief of finishing the competition was immense. It was great to stop thinking about cocktails and have a beer,” he explained.

The 34 global finalists were given a variety of challenges during the competition, which were judged by various bar industry experts including Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Gary Regan and Hidetsugu Ueno.

“I really enjoyed the Theatre round with Peter Dorelli, although he's hard to please. The speed round with De Groff was the scariest as it was realistically the only one I could foresee myself not completing, but I nailed that round which was nice,” Philips said.

“All the drinks I came up with were really well received. One of my drinks, a twist on classic, was inspired by the 1887 drink the Morning Glory Fizz. My interpretation used blue-gum Australian honey instead of sugar, and a eucalyptus tincture instead of absinthe.

"My Aussie inspired honey and eucalyptus Scotch Fizz was ‘perfect’ according to Hidetsugu Ueno, my judge for that round.”


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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