Wellington cocktail champ off to 'Olympics of bartending'

A 27-year-old Englishman who made a cocktail with just three ingredients has been named New Zealand's Bartender of the Year.

Kneale Brown, a bartender at Matterhorn in Wellington, was crowned the winner of World Class Bartender of the Year yesterday after the three-day final of the competition.

He will represent New Zealand at the "Olympics of bartending", the Diageo World Class Global Finals in Miami in September.

Beverage company Lion Co will prepare Brown for the event and also support him to open a bar in Auckland.

If you have great products, you'll have great flavour. A cocktail is only as good as its weakest ingredient.
Kneale Brown, champion bartender

One of the drinks Brown, who is originally from Newcastle, made for the final was "Sea to Skye", a cocktail made of just Talisker Whisky, Carbenet Sauvigon and Verjus.

"I don't like how the industry tends to over complicate things. Taste is non-linear," he said.

Brown said it would be "extraordinarily scary" putting his 13 years of bartending to the test against the world's best.

"But it's an absolute honour to represent New Zealand. I hope I can bring something back for this wonderful nation.

"Since I landed in New Zealand, there's never been a question of leaving."

Brown was also delighted to have the opportunity to open his own bar.

"It would combine my two passions: music and bartending; simple things that keep people happy."

Brown bet bartenders from Auckland bars Bedford Liquor & Soda, Revelry and The Gin Room, and Wellington bar Roxy to take out the national title.

- NZ Herald

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