For the past eight years 42BELOW has welcomed the world's most talented and craziest bartenders to our small corner of the world for the iconic 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup (CWC).
Each year, those same bartenders literally beg us for a chance to come back and do it all over again. We're a good bunch down here in New Zealand so, for the first time ever; CWC 2012 will feature a 'Startenders' team, made up of three of the greatest mixologists to ever grace our competition.
Applications were received from all over the world, and after much deliberation (and accepting of bribes) we are proud to announce the 2012 Startenders team.
Danielle Dalla Polla, Italy
Michael Callahan, USA
J.J Goodman, UK
Danielle was the smooth talking lynch pin of Team Italy who won CWC in 2011, he runs the award winning bar 'Nu Lounge' in Italy's eating and drinking capital, Bologna. Michael represented USA last year; he is now based in Singapore and is the owner of 28 Hong Kong St, an innovative and cutting edge cocktail. J.J Goodman won CWC for the UK in 2008. Now he presides of a burgeoning bar empire in London and makes regular TV appearances (although not as regular as he would like).
The 'Startenders' will compete for the prestigious world title against teams from USA, UK, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. The theme this year is 'Lab Experiment' with competitors expected to push the boundaries of modern drinks making with creative concoctions from the deepest, darkest corners of their minds.
We are also now able to reveal the identities of our esteemed judges, those will be leading the experiments and evaluating their success or otherwise.
From the UK, one of the leading lights of London's bar scene, former international bartender of the year and celebrated drinks consultant, Tony Conigliaro. Australia's most awarded bartender and proprietor of Sydney's 'Cocktail Island', Marco Faraone. And from the USA, John Lermayer, a Miami bartender, one of the country's most celebrated mixologists and part of Team USA in 2006. " I could not be any more honored to be returning to New Zealand and the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup, I identify it as the single experience that changed my career and life," says John.
Leading the judging panel is 42BELOW's emeritus vodka professor (and the only person to take part in and survive every CWC), Jacob Briars. "Every year we say we are so lucky to have judges of this caliber, but this year it's a lie because I am one of them!" deadpans Professor Briars. "The Startenders team is going to add an extra level of spice, bringing back those bartenders with a proven track record, throwing them together and seeing if lightening can strike twice."
The CWC experiment begins in Queenstown on September 3rd, with a series of new, improved and even more terrifying challenges and seminars from some of the industry's most influential professors. It will then head north for a grand final event on Friday September 7th at a top secret Auckland laboratory.
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