Melbourne bartender Matt Linklater headed to New York in high spirits
Linklater, from Melbourne bar Black Pearl, won the judges over with his Natural Order cocktail, which featured Woodford Reserve Rye, pomegranate vinegar, grenadine, white ale umeshu, soap bark extract and limonata.
He will now head to New York on an all expenses paid trip to attend the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience US Final in April 2018.
“Not only does this competition push me to be better, but it’s incredibly humbling to have the privilege of spending the last 24 hours with such talented people,” said Linklater.
“I never really set out to win, I just tried to be the best version of myself on the day. To be rewarded with this incredible opportunity – there are no words. Woodford Reserve has consistently been present throughout my bartending career. It’s been great to add my personal touch to the brand through these drinks.”
The competition invited bartenders across the country to produce two Woodford Reserve cocktail recipes and serve them in their bars throughout September. Simon Hopkins from Surly’s American BBQ in Sydney came in second place and Vini Wang of Hains & Co in Adelaide took out third place. The other national finalists were Joshua O’Brien from The Bowery in Brisbane and James Connolly from Long Chim, Perth.
“The talent we’ve seen during this competition is second to none and all of the contestants did a fantastic job of showcasing the versatility and rich flavour profile of Woodford Reserve,” said Woodford Reserve brand manager Dimitra Tassopoulos.