World Class Australia Semi-Finals: Cocktails and Winners

World Class Australia took to Sydney Harbour on board the Sydney Glass Island for a three hour cruise as nine of the country’s top bartenders competed in the semi-finals.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
World Class

World Class is DIAGEO Reserve’s global search for the world’s best bartender, a competition that sees leading bartenders from nearly forty countries compete for the coveted title of “World Class Bartender of the Year”.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Sydney Glass Island

Elegant World Class booklets with voting cards were handed out to guests prior to boarding Sydney Glass Island, a passport into an afternoon of cocktail tasting. Cocktail stations were set up on the lower deck where consumers, trade and media rubbed shoulders and clinked glasses before voting for their favourite libation.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Cocktail stations on lower deck

Using premium spirits from DIAGEO, Tanqueray TEN, Ketel One Vodka and The Singleton of Glen Ord, bartenders competed under three cocktail categories: Gentleman, Seasonal and Punch.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
MC Sean Baxter

Gentleman Category

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Phil Gandevia with the Continental

Phil Gandevia (ex Eau de Vie, now the Roosevelt) entertained the crowds with the Continental, a World Class interpretation of the Martini made with the use of liquid nitrogen and silver gallone mixing glasses. A strong and sensational cocktail for die-hard Martini lovers served with a freshly shucked oyster.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Collin Perillo with Sydney Calling

Collin Perillo’s (Zeta Bar) cocktail, Sydney Calling, took inspiration from two classic drinks, the Greyhound from LA/San Francisco and the London Calling from his Milk & Honey days at the London bar. He infused Ketel One Vodka with Australian botanicals, added fino sherry and fresh grapefruit juice resulting in a delightful cocktail that makes a strong statement yet remains balanced and refreshing – much like Sydney itself.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Jason Williams with Breakfast in Bed

Jason Williams (theloft) served Breakfast in Bed using vodka and gin matched with fruit marmalade, white chocolate liqueur and lemon. Served with dandelion tea, a cucumber fizz and a fine orange mist – a cocktail guaranteed to get one out of bed.

Punch Category

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Thiago Santos with Western Expression

Thiago Santos (theloft) turned you into a cocktail artist with his Western Expression cocktail. Gin, elderflower and lemon provide the base to which you can pick your choice of strawberry and Campari purée, cucumber purée and blue curacao purée – or all three, creating a mix of floral, bitter and citrus flavours in one drink.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Strawberry and Campari purée (red), cucumber purée (green) and blue curacao purée (blue)

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Perryn Collier with Collier’s Sundown Cooler

Perryn Collier (the Laneway) presented the Collier’s Sundown Cooler, a light, zingy and fresh cocktail that epitomises the Australian summer. Using barbequeued spiced pineapple syrup and ginger cordial with gin, vodka and carbonated water from an esky, the cocktail was served with dehydrated pineapple and black pepper chips.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Sarah Miller with Dockers Union Punch

Sarah Miller (I Know a Place) took the punch to another level with Dockers Union Punch, using Singleton of Glen Ord 12 yo whisky with fresh juices and honey and spice. A serious cocktail that packs a punch for whisky lovers.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Sarah Miller from I Know a Place

Seasonal Category

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Anita Strother with Core of My Heart

Anita Strother (Malt Dining) served up Core of My Heart, an Australiana homage with gin, mint and grapefruit foam – a light, summery and refreshing cocktail served with a spoon.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Core of My Heart Cocktail

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Adam Smith with Our Little Secret

Adam Smith (Press Club) used his own “Little Ten Liquor” and Lillet Blanc with gin in Our Little Secret drawing on flavours from goji berries, rosemary and rooibos tea in a highly aromatic cocktail for those who like it on the sweet side.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Our Little Secret Cocktail and botanicals

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
Fred Siggins with US 10

Fred Siggins (Kodiak Club) celebrated American summers with backyard BBQs and beers with his US 10 cocktail (gin, pale ale and white grapefruit) served from his own beer bottle with a side of barbequeued corn.

World Class Australia Semi-Finals
Barbequeued corn and US10

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
A post-competition photo opportunity with Dr Phil & the Continental

The competition was judged by industry experts as well as guests casting their vote for their favourite cocktail in each category.

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
The Judges and Officials (L to R) – Matt Bruhn (DIAGEO Marketing Director), Emily Wheldon (RESERVE Senior Brand Manager), Pat Nourse (Gourmet Traveller), Sacha Delfosse (B&C trade media partner),  Laurene Bourges (Behind Bars / RESERVE coordinator), Justin Smyth (Global Brand Ambassador for Ketel One), Ben Shipley (Everyday Drinking blog), Myffy Rigby (Time Out), Dan Kaufman (Barzine blog & SMH – not in photo)

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
The Bartenders (L to R): Adam Smith, Anita Strother,  Fred Siggins, Sarah Miller, Thiago Santos, Perryn Collier, Jason Williams, Collin Perillo, Phil Gandevia

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
The Winners (L to R): Fred Siggins, Perryn Collier, Phil Gandevia

The winners were announced on board the upper deck, with Phil Gandevia from The Roosevelt winning the Gentleman category with The Continental , Perryn Collier from The Laneway winning the Punch category with Collier’s Sundown Cooler and Fred Siggins from the Kodiak Club with his US 10 cocktail in the Seasonal category.

Runners up were Collin Perillo, Zeta Bar (Gentlemen), Sarah Miller, I know a place (Punch) and Adam Smith, Press Club (Seasonal). Second runners up were Jason Williams, theloft (Gentlemen), Thiago Santos, theloft (Punch) and Anita Strother, Malt Dining (Seasonal).

World Class Cocktail Semi-Finals
The winners with their trophies (L to R): Phil Gandevia, Perryn Collier, Fred Siggins

Congratulations to all the winners who have now made it to the national finals which will be taking place in June 2012.

For a photo gallery of the event, “Like” Gourmantic on Facebook and tag the photos.

World Class Australia

Gourmantic attended the World Class Australia semi-finals event on Sunday 22 January 2012 as media guests. Photography by @MrGourmantic – All rights reserved.


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.