This year was one of the biggest yet for the NSW instalment of The Perfect Blend Competition, with 12 finalists across the Apprentice and Professional categories.
Spirits were high on the night, with Beam channeling its Kentucky heritage to throw a real Southern American hoedown, complete with country singers, chicken wings and, of course, flowing bourbon.
Despite skills ranging from absolute first timers to the competition scene to seasoned old hats it was a tight competition, with each competitor bringing their a-game on the night.
Congratulations to Anna Nguyen of Button Bar, Sydney for taking out the Apprentice category and Kurtis Bosley of The Royal Hotel, Paddington for winning the Professional competition.
Anna’s cocktail ‘For a Moment’ was a bittersweet mix of Maker’s Mark, rose infused sweet vermouth, Suze liqueur and homemade pomegranate shrub designed to evoke the sad yet sweet moment of saying goodbye to someone you love.
‘Hanami’, Kurtis’ winning cocktail, was inspired by Japan’s famous cherry blossom festival and used Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve, fermented strawberry and sanshool pepper, choy umesh, PX Sherry and dandelion and burdock bitters to reflect the floral aromas and subtle pink hues of the springtime event.
Both Anna and Kurtis will now proceed to the National Final in May, where they will battle it out against the other state finalists for the grand prize – a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the home of bourbon, Kentucky.
The national winners will visit the Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam distilleries and meet their master blenders before jetting off to the renowned Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.