Bartenders representing 44 countries will compete in the global competition. In the meantime, from more than 130 entrants Australia wide, the national semi finalists were whittled down to nine: three bartenders per category of drinks of Gentleman's Cocktail, Punch and Seasonal Cocktail.
|World Class Australia 2012 semi finals aboard the Sydney Glass Island|
Attendees received 'little black books'; passports with information on each bartender and their competing cocktail, as well as classy voting cards to be used once all nine cocktails were sampled. Determining a winner was going to be fun, although there was a judging panel ensuring it wasn't all just a popularity contest.
|World Class Australia 2012 semi finals crowd|
Each drink featured Tanqueray No. Ten Gin, Ketel One Vodka or Singleton of Glen Ord 12 Single Malt Whisky.
|Dockers Union Punch by Sarah Miller (I know a place, Melbourne)|
It must have been the summery presentation of the punch, with apple and other fruit juices as well as heavier spice notes and Creole bitters. Served on ice it was, surprisingly, very drinkable in the summer heat with just a wisp of whisky-ness.
|The Continental by Philip Gandevia (Eau de Vie/The Roosevelt, Sydney)|
|Philip Gandevia pulls out some cocktail theatrics|
|US 10 by Fred Siggins (The Kodiak Club, Fitzroy)|
|US 10 served with Mexican style barbequed corn|
The grilled prawn skewers were one of the best ones; well marinated and grilled, I may have had more than a couple of these.
|Rice paper rolls|
|Fish cocktails with dill tartare sauce|
|Collier's Sundown Cooler|
|Collier's Sundown Cooler by Perryn Collier (The Laneway, Brisbane)|
|Collier's Sundowner Cooler served with pineapple on the side|
|Anita Strother (Malt Dining, Brisbane)|
|Western Expression by Thiago Santos (The Loft, Sydney)|
The puree/paint options were red strawberry and Campari, green cucumber or blue grapefruit and Blue Curaçao.
|Thiago Santos adds more blue 'paint' to the palette|
|Sydney Calling by Colin Perillo (Zeta Bar, Sydney)|
|Wattle leaves and 'Pure Harmony' lavender leaves|
|Our Little Secret by Adam Smith (Press Club, Brisbane)|
Adam Smith provided a complex combination of peach tea, rosemary, agave and grapefruit mixed with gin, a bespoke "Little Ten Liquor" and Lillet Blanc. The rosemary was a surprising, warm ingredient in the drink
|Breakfast in Bed by Jason Williams (The Loft, Sydney)|
I missed most of the delicate flavours (orange and cucumber too) in what was possibly a rushed drink as the countdown loomed, but the end result was sadly unbalanced.
|World Class Australia 2012 semi finals awards|
|(Left to right) Fred Siggins, Perryn Collier and Philip Gandevia|
I heard that the Seasonal Cocktail category was very closely contested, but the semi finals produced three finalists for the next round; where one national winner will head to Rio for the global competition, which by all accounts, is no holiday.
|World Class Australia 2012 semi finalists|
|Perryn Collier (The Laneway, Brisbane)|
Food, booze and shoes attended the World Class Australia 2012 semi finals courtesy of Diageo Reserve World Class and Behind Bars.