Jack Sotti, bartender at Melbourne's Boilermaker House, was recently awarded third place in the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Competition, on the strength of a number of his cocktail creations. Notably, he has created the competition’s first levitating cocktail — it's called the Stealth Bomber. Badarse. We ask him some questions about his experience.
What's the secret to making a World Class cocktail? You want to bring the wow factor. Whether that's in the taste, balance and texture of the drink itself, the way the cocktail is served or the actual presentation itself — like my levitating cocktail the Stealth Bomber using Bulleit Rye — that's how you 'wow' a crowd. You have to be innovative and different, which is increasingly hard year on year.
There's obviously more to being one of the world's best bartenders than a talent for mixing drinks. What do you need to make it to Diageo Reserve World Class finals? Two things: charisma and mise-en-place. You need to win over the hearts of the judges as well as their palates. Know who your judges are and tailor your presentation to them. Mise-en-place essentially means preparation, no elaboration needed. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
What was the most difficult part of the competition for you? The stress! Our stress levels were high. Everyone is stressed but the second you step in front of the judges, it's time to put on your game face. We're in front of people day-in, day-out judging what we are doing; you just have to be confident in your own ability.