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Cocktail conversations: Interviews with Diageo Reserve World Class finalists

by Kurt Ganapathy

InSing.com - 26 December 2013 9:13 AM | Updated 30 Dec 2013

Cocktail conversations: Interviews with Diageo Reserve World Class finalists

To say that cocktails are big in Singapore right now is a bit of an understatement, and our gravitation towards them shows no signs of letting up.

Established names like 28 HongKong Street, Jigger & Pony and Tippling Club continue to grow in stature while every other month, a new hole-in-the-wall bar emerges to shake things up with its unique personality and philosophy. It's an exciting time in Singapore.

Launched in 2009, the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition has played a big part in nurturing cocktail-making talents around the globe and Singapore-based bartenders have been involved from the beginning. The annual competition pits the best in the business against each other at a national level, culminating in a Global Final where the Bartender of the Year is crowned.

The 2013 edition saw Tippling Club's Zachary de Git win the 'Mediterranean Mastery' challenge at the main event. The class of 2014 will be looking to build on his success.

We caught up with three of Singapore's national finalists who will compete for the right to represent the country at the 2014 Global Final – Louis Tan from the soon-to-be-opened L'Aiglon, Peter Chua from 28 HongKong Street and Mark Thomas from B-Bar at Bacchanalia. The trio share their approaches to making cocktails, tell us where they find their inspiration and offer tips on how you can hone your own mixology skills.

Louis Tan of L'Aiglon
"Hipster" cocktails from local markets is this  signature - that is where one can truly appreciate the food and drink cultures
Mark Thomas of B-Bar at Bacchanalia
"Life" is this head bartender's biggest inspiration, though his approach to making cocktails is "technique"
Rainbow cakePeter Chua of 28 Hong Kong Street
This bartender gets his inspiration from every corner - how'd he put together absinthe and Japanese flavours to win then?

A beer enthusiast first and a writer second, Kurt Ganapathy has tried more than 1,000 brews from 80 countries. Some of his most memorable exploits include tackling the one-time world's strongest beer – BrewDog's 41 per cent abv Sink The Bismarck! – and getting his name on the wall of an Irish pub in Melbourne for drinking 100 pints of Guinness (not in one sitting, of course).