12/09/2006 - 22:00

Bartender stirred, not shaken, by win

12/09/2006 - 22:00

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Gary Beadle is at the top of his game. The Luxe Bar general manager has just scooped the pool in the highly contested 2006 WA Suntory Cup, beating a field of Perth’s elite bartenders.

Bartender stirred, not shaken, by win

Gary Beadle is at the top of his game. The Luxe Bar general manager has just scooped the pool in the highly contested 2006 WA Suntory Cup, beating a field of Perth’s elite bartenders.

The Suntory Cup is like the Oscars for local cocktail makers – the competition they all want to win, and the one that books the winner into the Australian finals this week in Melbourne.

In only his second year of bartending competition, Mr Beadle further pressed his claim as being one of the country’s top mixologists. This latest win comes after being named ‘cocktail barperson of the year’ in February, and being nominated for ‘bar manager of the year’ by the Australian Bartender Awards.

These accolades also join wins in the Midori Cup, the Bacardi Cup and the Chartreuse Cocktail competitions.

And his winning drinks? With tongue-in-cheek and a definite sweetness on the palate, Mr Beadle says his ‘Sucka Punch’ is a retro homage to everything that cocktails should be about.

“It’s just a lot of fun really. It’s got lemon, sugar, raspberries, Matusalem Platino rum and Grand Marnier in it,” he told Gusto.

“Punch is a traditional style of drink and I think this one appeals to a broad market. It’s a drink that I made so people have a smile on their face when they drink it. I even garnished it with a retro cocktail umbrella just as something different.”

It was the taste and presentation that the judges definitely warmed to in the Perth competition late last month, which means Mr Beadle will now get the chance to shake, stir and strain his wares against the country’s best in this week’s national competition.

From an outsider’s point of view, these bartending competitions seem like a lot of fun, but, as Mr Beadle explains, their systems of analysis and point scoring are rigorous at best.

“Competing is a lot of fun, but you really have to have a passion for it,” he says.

“Most of the time you are competing on your days off and most of the competitions don’t just test how your drink tastes, they test your product knowledge, work technique – all the elements of a professional bartender”.

While Mr Beadle’s win is a clear indication of his skill with a Boston Shaker, it further cements Luxe Bar’s reputation as Perth’s cocktail mecca. Since its inception five years ago, the late night Beaufort Street venue has single-handedly raised Perth’s cocktail profile.

Luxe was voted one of the best bars in the country by Bartender Magazine in 2003, an accolade well respected in the industry. Just a year later its staff earned the title of ‘best Australian bar team’ at the same ceremony.

While confident that Luxe now comfortably ranks amongst Australia’s elite nightspots, Mr Beadle says industry recognition, like the Suntory Cup, helps to push the boundaries for local cocktail makers.

“Bartending is a career now, you can make a good living from it,” he says. “With more people coming into the industry, and with more investment from liquor companies, we can raise the standard of training for bartenders.”

Currently, there is no industry recognised training course for bartenders, with all training conducted in-house.

And while suggesting the need for a cocktail school to standardise the training of new recruits, Mr Beadle is happy with the progression of local cocktail knowledge.

“Five years ago, no one in Perth would have heard of Tanq 10,” he says, referring to the ultra premium Tanqueray 10 gin.

“Now we have people coming to the bar and ordering a Tanq 10 martini and it is really satisfying. It’s what the job is all about.”

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