By Tam Allenby

The judges of Diageo Reserve World Class have announced their pick of Australia’s top 20 bartenders for 2017. The finalists, whittled down from more than 480 entries, will compete in the Australian Grand Final of the competition in Sydney on 5-6 June.

2017 saw the highest number of entries ever in the history of World Class Australia; Diageo also said that this year, they received some of the most impressive and original entries to date.

To enter, bartenders were tasked with entering a drink in one or both of the following categories: ‘Set the Scene’ or “Create The Memory’. From there, a team of judges scored each individual entry on artistry, innovation, balance, technique and visual aesthetic to decide the Top 100.

Following this, the Top 100 were tasked with submitting a ‘visually stunning and delicious’ cocktail as their ticket to the final Top 20.

The Australian winner of the 2017 Diageo Reserve World Class competition, to be announced on 6 June, will embark on a once-in-a-lifetime, all expenses paid trip to the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland.

The winner will also be flown to Bangkok to attend the launch of the first Global World Class Bar, where they will participate in an exclusive World Class Bootcamp designed to prepare them for success at the Global Finals.

Skills sharpened, Australia’s deserving representative will then compete against the world’s best in the ninth annual Global Diageo Reserve World Class competition, a week-long event that will be held in Mexico City in August.

Diageo Australia Marketing and Innovation Director Adam Ballesty said: “This year’s competition has tested the drive, commitment and skill of all entrants and the caliber of our Top 20 is a testament of just how much bartending talent we have in Australia.”

Diageo Reserve World Class Top 20 for 2017:

Alex Boon, Seymours Cocktails and Oysters – QLD; Andrea Gualdi, Maybe Frank – NSW; Cameron Pirret, Seymours Cocktails and Oysters – QLD; Christian Blair, Annata – NSW; Edward Quartermass, Maker – QLD; Ella Rhodes, The Gresham ; Elliot Pascoe, Maker – QLD; Elliott Bell, This Must Be The Place – NSW; Jake Down, This Must Be The Place – NSW; James Irvine, The Swillhouse Group – NSW; Matthew Follent, Bar 1806 – VIC; Matthew Linklater, The Black Pearl – VIC; Michael Chiem, PS40 – NSW; Nick Tesar, Bar Liberty – VIC; Orlando Marzo, Lume – VIC; Phil Spector, Bulletin Place – NSW; Rohan Fisher, Boilermaker House – VIC; Simone Sanna, Bar 1806 – VIC; Thomas Angel, Kiyomi – QLD; Thor Bergquist, PS40 – NSW

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