By Suzan Ryan, editor bars&clubs

Diageo Australia announced former Sydney Eau de Vie bartender Charles Ainsbury (pictured) as the winner of the Australian Final of the 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year award on Monday. 

Ainsbury will represent Australia at the Global Championships, held in Great Britain, July 28-August 1.

Held at Bondi’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, the five finalists completed a series of challenges judged by 2013 Australian champion Luke Ashton and World Class ambassador Darren Robertson of Bronte’s Three Blue Ducks. 

Representing Australia’s best bartenders, the five finalists – Andy Griffiths of Rum Diaries, Melbourne; Charles Ainsbury, formerly of Eau de Vie, Sydney; Jenna Hemsworth of Thomas Olive, Melbourne; Ben Blair of The Crossing, Sydney, and  Oscar Eastman of 1806, Melbourne – competed in three challenges set to test each bartender’s knowledge, skills and talents.

The first challenge tasked each bartender to take inspiration from London-based innovator Ryan Chetiyawardana, Creative Director of White Lyan, to create a bottled cocktail. The concept must then be pitched to the judges with flavour, presentation, unique selling points and marketing all earning points.

The second challenge directed the bartenders to create a cocktail that embodies their desire to represent Australia in the World Class Global Final. Finalists were invited to showcase their skills in this open-ended challenge, demonstrating why they are the best bartender in Australia.

The third and final challenge instructed bartenders to smell and taste dishes created by Darren Robertson, in a live, blind tasting. The finalists were then given 30 minutes to create a unique cocktail to complement the dish and present to the judges.

As the winner of this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class Australian Final, Ainsbury joins the ranks of previous winners, Luke Ashton and Tim Philips, as Australia’s representative at the Global Finals.

Ainsbury will now travel to Scotland to learn the art of blending at the Johnnie Walker distillery; master the craft of maturation at the George Dickel distillery in Tennessee; hone his knowledge of rum at the Ron Zacapa distillery in Guatemala, and have the opportunity to blend his own small-batch rum at the Bundaberg Distilling Company. 

The Shout Team

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

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *