Against five other competitors, Irvine took out the challenge with his two cocktails ‘Mr. Trinidad’ and ‘Toco Beach’. Together, with these two prizes, Irvine will also go on to represent Australia in the global final in Trinidad early next year.
Commenting on his win, Irvine said: “I am honestly blown away. The competition was stiff and everyone that took part was a serious contender. Being an ambassador for Angostura is an amazing opportunity and is a career aspiration of mine. It will be an honour to represent such an iconic brand.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Trinidad to compete in the global final. It would be incredible to see Australia take out back-to-back global finals.”
Irvine and runners up were judged by a panel of four industry experts this year, including previous Australian winner and current Angostura world champion, Mike Tomasic; distributor island2island’s own Brittany Page; editor of Australian Bartender Magazine, Sam Bygrave; and Luca Capecchi from The Commons.
“This year was all about finding the best of the best to compete”, Page said. “Australia is current global champion. We are the country to beat so it was vital we found a bartender worthy of representing our country in the global finals in Trinidad next year.”
According to judges, Irvine’s cocktails showcased balance and an understanding of how flavours and aromas mix.
“Although all five competitors were extremely talented and performed admirably last night, James stood out by the quality of his drinks and a very polished presentation”, Page added.
Alex Boon from Jahh Tiger in Brisbane came in second place, followed by Joe Sinagra from Bobeche, Perth; Roman Tazhdynov from The Bibliotheca Bar, Adelaide; and Paul Ramsay from Dutchess, Melbourne.
James’ Winning Drinks
45ml Angostura 1824
45ml Fresh blood orange juice
15ml Amaro Montenegro
10ml Fresh lime juice
5 Dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
Method: Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill ¾ full with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled smoked tiki mug and garnish with a de-hydrated blood orange wheel and smoking embers.
Garnish: Smoked tiki mug, de-hydrated blood orange wheel, smoking embers and mix-matched candy straws.
60ml Lightly brewed green tea, chilled
50ml Angostura Reserva
30ml Fresh lemon juice
5ml Angostura orange bitters
Method: Place all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill ¾ full with ice and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a chilled, stemless wine glass and garnish with nasturtium flowers and mist salt water across the drink.
Garnish: Saltwater mist and nasturtium flower centred.