By Sacha Delfosse
Some of Australia's top bartenders will compete in the Havana Club Grand Prix National Final on March 19 in Sydney, which will be held at the Cuban restaurant and bar, La Bodeguita del Medio.
To enter the competition bartenders were asked to submit two cocktails – a twist on the Mojito using Añejo 3 Años and an original cocktail using Añejo 7 Años or the new Selección de Maestros.
Out of more than one hundred entries, the top 12 from each state were chosen to compete in their state finals, with the top two in each of those competitions moving through to the national finals.
The 8 national finalists are – Stuart Morrow from Hugo's Bar Pizza, Oliver Drummond from Tokonoma, Martin Lange from Sling, Glenn Morgan from Canvas Club, James Connolly from The Sentinel, Sebastian Terkildsen from Five Bar, Chris Hysted from Black Pearl/The Attic and Nick Selvadurai from Blue Diamond.
"I have to say that the quality of the entries was of a high level which made the initial round of judging quite difficult," Pernod Ricard national spirits ambassador, Ben Davidson, said.
"We held our State comps at the following venues – Laruche, Brisbane, Tokonoma, Sydney, 399 Bar, Perth and Golden Monkey, Melbourne. We were very grateful for those venues hosting our events, some of which finished after midnight."
The winner of the national final will be mentored by Davidson and will represent Australia at the Global Havana Club Grand Prix event in Havana, Cuba that will be held during the first week of June, 2012.
"We would love to see bartenders from Sydney at La Bodeguita del Medio on Monday to enjoy some Mojitos and Cuba Libres whilst chilling out and seeing what it takes to win this 'old-school' style of cocktail competition, and be ready to throw their Fedora in the ring next year."