Diageo World Class announces Aussie Top 20 Posted by: Alana House March 28, 2018 Diageo World Class has announced Australia’s top 20 finalists for 2018 who will compete in the Australian Grand Final in Sydney on April 23 and 24. Whittled down from more than 500 entries, the top 20 had to impress the judges with cocktails designed in this year’s theme, WANDERLUST. Bartenders were tasked with entering a drink in one or both of the following categories; HOME, creating a cocktail inspired by a place in Australia and; AWAY, designing a drink inspired by an overseas destination. Diageo’s Brand Ambassadors sifted through each individual entry, scoring qualities for the cocktail, its story, technique and visual aesthetics to decide the country’s Top 100 bartenders. The Top 100 then battled it out to “Break the Mould”, challenging conventions and building flavour through alternative processes to secure their place in the Top 20. Diageo Australia Marketing and Innovation Director Adam Ballesty said: “This competition continues to set the global standard for bartenders, it’s the ultimate accolade in the industry and there is no shortage of imitators. “World Class is now in its 10th year but the thing I’m really proud of is how it highlights the breadth of world class talent that we have here in Australia. This competition isn’t just about making a top notch cocktail, it takes creativity, an understanding of flavour profiles, extensive knowledge of spirits and a serious commitment to the craft. “We punch so far above our weight in Australia that we had the highest number of submissions this year than ever before in the 10-year history of Diageo World Class globally.” Here are the Diageo World Class Top 20 for 2018: Next steps for the Top 20 Over two intense days in April, the Top 20 finalists will test their mettle as they take part in a series of live challenges and educational workshops hosted by experts, hand-selected for their contribution to the industry. Mentors and judges will include Michael Madrusan, of Milk & Honey fame, and founder of The Everleigh and The Elk Room in Melbourne; Danielle Alvarez executive chef of Fred’s in Paddington (the venue chosen for the finals); Fenella Kernebone; curator of TedxSydney and respected television and radio presenter; and Melissa Leong, food writer and media personality. Kaitlyn Stewart, World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2017 and Krystal Hart, the Diageo World Class national ambassador, will also be guiding and presiding over competitors throughout the two days of action. Challenge categories include: 1. The 10 Year Challenge – hosted by Michael Madrusan 2. Think Global Go Local Challenge – hosted by Danielle Alvarez 3. The Today Show Challenge – hosted by Fenella Kernebone 4. The Speed Round – hosted by Kaitlyn Stewart Each challenge will take the Top 20 out of their comfort zone, broaden their vocabulary of flavours and fine tune their skills for the chance to participate in the Global Diageo World Class Competition later this year. The Australian winner of the Diageo 2018 World Class Competition, announced on April 24, will have the chance to embark on a once in a lifetime, all expenses paid trip to Berlin, to represent Australia on the world stage at the Global Finals in October. The National winner will then embark on a cocktail tour of Europe, visiting world famous bars and iconic Diageo distilleries, from the home of Johnnie Walker in Scotland to the beautiful ‘chez CÎROC’ in the South of France, as well as relax and experience the best bucket list drinking occasions the continent has to offer. Pictured: Last year's World Top 10.