For the second time, the already highly celebrated Sydney bartender Charlie Ainsbury, co-owner of This Must Be the Place, has taken out to the status as Bartender of the Year at the Diageo Reserve World Class Australian finals for 2016. Held over the weekend in Melbourne, the Diageo Reserve World Class featured 25 of the country’s bar royalty to ultimately send one representative over to Miami to represent at Diageo’s 8th annual global Diageo Reserve World Class Competition. We think he’s in with a good shot to become the second ever Australian bartender to win the whole thing (the first was Tim Phillips, owner of Dead Ringer and Bulletin Place).
Ainsbury was crowned after two days of intensive workshops and challenges, featuring 25 of the country’s finest competing across four different cocktail challenges – Bottled Cocktails, Against the Clock, Culinary Cocktail Champions and Ketel One Craft – judged by a panel of local and international experts, including founder of award-winning London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana, as well as Tim Phillips, Ryan Flaherty, Head Chef and owner of Mister Jennings, and Bob Nolet, 11th Generation of Nolet Distillers at Ketel One Vodka.
The 25 finalists were scored on merit of artistry, innovation, creativity, balance, technique, visual aesthetic, presentation theatre and the overall X-Factor – “is it World Class?”
“I am proud, humbled and honored to be representing Australia on the global stage once again. Having experience in the global finals under my belt will hopefully prove to be an advantage but I can tell you the nerves will never settle.”, says Ainsbury. “I am driven, passionate and determined to bring the title back home to Australia.”
Each cocktail challenge also had its own individual winner, acknowledging Andrea Gualdi (Maybe Frank in Sydney) for “Bottled Cocktails”; Kal Moore (The Gresham in Brisbane) for “Against the Clock”; Edward Qatermass (Maker in South Brisbane) for “Culinary Cocktail Companions”; and last year’s Australian champ and global second runner-up Jack Sotti (Boilermaker House in Melbourne) for “Ketel One Craft”.