As published in on 29 April 2015
NZMA hospitality graduate Sai Hamsala has taken out the title of World’s Best Bartender in Diplomático’s World Tournament Finals, which took place in Venezuela last week.
Battling it out against 27 of the most talented bartenders on the planet, Sai’s ‘Just in Time’ cocktail proved too good to beat. A sophisticated mix of rum, pineapple and thyme, it impressed judges enough to land him $10,000 cash and the prestigious title of Diplomático’s new Global Brand Ambassador.
For Sai it was the ultimate reward for many years of training and hard work.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning a global cocktail world tournament. I feel that I have achieved something very big thanks to all the passion and work I’ve put into bartending for the past eight years,” he said.
Launched in 2012, the Diplomático World Tournament has drawn more than 1000 participating bartenders. The event takes place over eight days, in three separate rounds, and contestants are judged on technique, presentation, décor, garnish and organoleptic subjects (such as taste, texture, aroma and balance) as well as their knowledge of rum.
Sai won the New Zealand final of the tournament late last year, whilst working as a bar manager for Mt Eden’s Scarlett Slimms & Lucky. His winning concoction ‘Rich Heart’ quickly became a favourite tipple for Mt Eden locals. He then headed to Barquisimeto, Venezuela earlier this month to compete in the World Final.
Sai launched his career after completing his Diploma in Hospitality Management at NZMA six years ago. He went on to work at the Hilton Hotel, quickly climbing the ranks to Bar Manager of Bellini, before heading to Scarlett Slimms & Lucky. No stranger to awards, he has competed in the NZ Bar Masters at the Restaurant & Bar Trade Show and was also named Bartender of the Year at the 2013 NZ Culinary Fare.