Diageo’s World Class Cocktail Festival to revive Sydney’s bar scene

April 6, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Sydney’s vibrant bar culture will take things up a notch with the World Class Cocktail Festival taking place in Sydney from 28 April-2 May presented by Diageo.

The festival will showcase the city’s outstanding hospitality, quality dining, award-winning cocktails and celebrate Australia’s best bartending talent. The World Class Cocktail Festival marks a significant milestone for the hospitality industry, as it welcomes customers back to bars and restaurants for the moments they’ve been missing.

Seven of the World’s 100 Best Bars are in Australia and every one of them are included in the festival lineup. The exciting schedule of events and unexpected partnerships is set to give the world a glimpse of what they can expect when the world’s most prestigious cocktail competition, Global Bartender of the Year, comes to Sydney in 2022.

Tuesday, 27 April

The country’s very best bartenders will battle it out to be crowned Australian World Class Bartender of the Year, with the winner moving on to represent Australia virtually in the global World Class Bartender of the Year finals in July.

Wednesday, 28 April

Surry Hills and Sydney’s CBD will come alive with the World Class Cocktail Festival, five days of bespoke cocktails, live entertainment, pop-up events, immersive brand experiences and dining collaborations, all championing the very best of Sydney’s diverse bar scene.

As the official festival ’Main Stage’, Paramount House will feature luxury brand collaborations, including Don Julio tequila and Ketel One Botanical vodka offering one-of-a-kind experiences every day.

The festivities will flow into the nearby surrounds of Surry Hills and the CBD where the likes of Tanqueray No. TEN London dry gin, Belsazar vermouth and CÎROC vodka will offer a curation of unexpected activities for Sydney to take pleasure in for the very first time.

World Class Cocktail Festival will not only highlight Australia’s best bars and an international standard of cocktails at just $15 each, but also hero the most highly regarded and awarded drinking destinations in our very own backyard.

One thing is for certain, with lockout laws lifted and NSW’s COVID-19 restrictions currently removed, World Class Cocktail Festival is something to get excited about! The festival also promises to present a taste of what’s to come when Sydney hosts the global final for World Class Bartender of the Year in 2022.

To celebrate our nation’s best beverages and this year’s top 100 World Class Bartender of the Year entries, $15 cocktails will be available from selected locations nationally during the festival, from 28th April to 2nd May.

Participating venues include: Apollo, Barber Shop, Cho Cho San, Dead Ringer, Door Knock,

Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, RE, Tio’s and Wild Rover with more to be added daily.

The World Class Cocktail Festival programme can be found here with more activity to be announced weekly and some secret parties to pop up unexpectedly.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

Little Melbourne, Golden Age Bar: Wednesday to Sunday, 5.00pm-late

Melbourne’s reputation for hospitality shows up no better than in their incredible bar scene, so we’re paying tribute to our neighbouring city by celebrating a selection of their best! Award-winning Melbourne venues will take up temporary residence at the Golden Age Bar each evening, with an impressive lineup of bartending talent from the likes of Above Board, Black Pearl, Byrdi and The Everleigh (all featured in the World’s 100 Best Bars) coming to town to share their top Don Julio tipples with Sydneysiders.

Simon Johnson x Ketel One: The Truth About Caviar, Golden Age Bar. Saturday, 1 May 2.00pm-5.00pm

Celebrating the increasingly popular vodka and caviar pairing in an afternoon titled ‘The Truth About Caviar’, the team from Simon Johnson, will offer unique tastings and education for guests to better understand this luxury ingredient and its history of being partnered with vodka. Ketel One vodka martinis will be served alongside a bump of caviar, or for the more inquisitive guests, a hosted in-depth 20 minute tasting experience.

Mexico’s Golden Age, Golden Age Cinema: Wednesday-Saturday

If you’re missing holidays abroad, Don Julio is going to transport you to Jalisco at Paramount House, where all week we bring the spirit of Mexico to life with a feast for the senses. Sip contemporary Don Julio tequila cocktails while you watch cinematic favourites celebrating some of Mexico’s most esteemed film directors at Golden Age Cinema.

Paying homage to Mexico’s best, Don Julio has taken charge of the film schedule, screening Desperado, Like Water For Chocolate, El Mariachi, Brimstone & Glory and Pan’s Labyrinth.

Session times available here.

Maybe Sammy – Maybe Sevilla: Closing Party. Sunday, 4.00pm-midnight

Three of the World’s 50 Best Bars are in Sydney and the highest on the list, placing 11th is the incredible, theatrical and formidable, Maybe Sammy. The team here will take honours hosting the World Class Cocktail Festival closing party, Spanish style. Tanqueray No. TEN & Tanqueray Sevilla cocktails will be a highlight of the night as the sounds of live Latin music will set the mood for the celebration as the week comes to a close and we send our new Australian Bartender of the Year to compete against the rest of the world as part of the global finals.

Where: Maybe Sammy: 115 Harrington St, The Rocks

Bulletin Place x Belsazar Place: Wednesday-Saturday, 5.00pm-late

Ranked 39th in the World’s Best Bars, Bulletin Place will introduce Belsazar Place, a long-term installation at the foot of their popular CBD establishment that takes inspiration from Berlin’s much loved small bar culture. Taking over part of the laneway, Belsazar Place will highlight the German Vermouth through a carefully curated cocktail list while bringing familiar German flavours to the fore with its bar snack menu including pretzels and onion dip, house pickled caraway carrots, and smoked curry almonds.

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