World Class Cocktail Festival comes to Sydney

Sydney will step into the global mixology spotlight when it hosts the return of the World Class Cocktail Festival, from 9-18 September.  

The celebration of food, drink, and cocktail culture will welcome award-winning bartenders, foodies and cocktail lovers from more than 50 countries.

Across nine sensational days and nights, leading Australian food and drink venues such as Quay, Bennelong and Shell House will join forces with the world’s greatest names in the global bar scene and cutting-edge culinary creatives to deliver cocktail experiences, one-of-a-kind events, food and drink pop-ups, collaborations and seriously cool parties.

Hailing from the world’s number one bar, The Connaught‘s ‘Master of the Martini’ Ago Perrone (Above) will be jetting in from London to create magic with Tanqueray No. TEN at Bennelong, for a one-night-only collaboration that will see the world’s best bar meet the world’s best view to deliver the world’s best martini. Guests will indulge in an iconic menu prepared by the legendary Executive Chef Peter Gilmore, paired with spectacular cocktails by Perrone.

On the other side of Sydney Harbour, a sparkling whisky lounge brought to you by celebrated London bar Lyaness, hosted by none other than the world’s most awarded bartender, Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan, will come to life. For a few days only, Mr Lyan will transform the Green Room of fine dining restaurant Quay into a vibrant bar and supper club, serving the icon of modern luxury: premium Johnnie Walker Blue Label cocktails alongside delicious and iconic bites by Gilmore. 

Queen of Cocktails, and recently-named most influential bar star in the world, Norwegian bartender Monica Berg will transform Shell House‘s stunning Clocktower Bar into a pop-up bar showcasing the skills she has honed at Tayēr + Elementary, voted number two bar in the world.

The Don Julio Food Truck Fiesta will assemble Australia’s most popular food trucks for a pop-up experience like no other at Hickson Road Reserve. A vibrant celebration of the never-out-of-style margarita, the fiesta will feature the world’s No.23 best bar – Sydney’s Cantina OK! and a soundtrack by Sydney’s finest DJs.

In a world first, local waste-free crusader Matt Whiley (Re, South Eveleigh) is on a mission to transform sustainability in hospitality by leading a week-long circular economy of participating festival bars with The Barbershop, PS40, Old Mate’s Place and The Lobo using each other’s unwanted food & bar waste to create tasty, one-off cocktail additions. Whiley’s initiative kicks off Ketel One’s bartender-led program, ‘Garnished with Good’, inspiring and enabling the hospitality community to create positive impact in their local community. 

Diageo Australia’s Jonathan Morgan said: “We are excited to be hosting the World Class Cocktail Festival in Sydney again this year and simultaneously hosting the Global World Class competition finals for the first time. 

“It is going to be a fantastic showcase of Australia’s incredibly unique food and drink scene on the global stage, supported by the attendance of over 300 international guests from over 50 countries including many global industry legends.  We believe it is another important moment of support for the hospitality industry and it will be incredible to see Sydney’s city full of life with its impressive cocktail culture booming.” 

Festivities will flow into nearby hotspots including Surry Hills, Newtown and the CBD, where, among many others, the likes of Earl’s Juke Joint, Maybe Sammy, Double Deuce, The Rover, Frankie’s, Hickson House, Dean & Nancy’s, will offer a curation of unexpected experiences, as well as interstate favourites including Black Pearl, Melbourne, popping up to share their magic. More details to be announced weekly as the Festival approaches. 

Celebrating not only the best cult food and beverage trends, the World Class Cocktail Festival will also host the global final of Diageo’s World Class Bartender of the Year with Nick Tesar from Bar Liberty in Melbourne representing Australia. Joining over 50 other global finalists in Sydney, Tesar will battle it out for the title of Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year, announced on the evening of Thursday, 15 September. Notably, Australia has always batted well above its weight in the competition, with Tim Philips-Johansson and Orlando Marzo both taking home the global title since the competition started, both of whom will be joining the extravaganza to judge at this year’s event.

The World Class Cocktail Festival program can be found at

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