Time Out Hotel Bars Competition crowns 2018 winner

04 July, 2018 by Andy Young

Time Out has crowned the winner of its 2018 Hotel Bars Cocktail Competition, after five bartenders from Australian hotels battled it out in the final at Zeta Bar in the Hilton Sydney this week.

This year’s competition tasked the cocktail makers with reinventing a classic cocktail from a list of three: Espresso Martini; Mojito; or Old Fashioned. Coming out on top was Behzad Nvaziri from Sokyo Lounge at The Star, with his cocktail ‘Thyme Out’ – a twist on the classic Old Fashioned made with bacon fat-washed Irish whiskey, Chardonnay vinegar, honey and thyme lemon syrup.

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Time Out CEO Michael Rodrigues said that the competition was an opportunity for top hotel bars to stamp their place in the local hospitality scene.

“Sydney’s inbound tourism numbers are only headed in one direction. Authentic Australian hospitality, delivered to world-class standard, is essential to ensuring a memorable visitor experience that encourages repeat visitation.”

The judges for this year’s competition included Australia’s most awarded bartender and the owner of Bulletin Place, Tim Philips-Johansson, along with Emily Lloyd-Tait , Time Out’s National Food and Drink Editor, and Matt Linklater , bar manager of the award winning Melbourne bar Black Pearl.

Philips-Johansson was pleased with the quality on display and what it means for Australia.

“Hotel bars are the generally the first and last experience an international or interstate visitor has in a city. Their importance to lay a hospitality yardstick is vital. After judging today’s competition, it’s safe to say Sydney’s hotel bars are in safe hands,” he said.

The drinks were scored on their taste, appearance, creativity and the explanations behind them, as well as their suitability to be made behind a bar on a busy night.

As well as the winner, Nvaziri, the other finalists included: Christian Comparone, Zeta Bar, Hilton Hotel; Kevin Londero, Hacienda, Pullman Hotel; Hemant Kumar, Zephyr Sky Bar, Hyatt Regency; and Leonid Zaytsev, Alibi, Ovolo Hotel.