Lalaland Lounge Bar co-owner Shannon Sanderson (28) with
his popular Breakfast at Tiffany's cocktail, which he will
make during the national final of the Diageo World Class
global bartending competition in Auckland on Monday. Photo
by Lucy Ibbotson.
Wanaka bartender Shannon Sanderson hopes to ''take some
of the shine'' off the North Island's cocktail culture when he
competes against the country's best mixologists in Auckland
Mr Sanderson (28), co-owner of Lalaland Lounge Bar Wanaka,
will be the only South Island representative in the New
Zealand final of the Diageo World Class cocktail contest,
billed as the bartending industry's biggest and most
The winner will compete against national champions from more
than 50 countries at the global final in Great Britain from
July 28 to August 1.
Mr Sanderson finished third in last year's inaugural New
Zealand battle - won by former Queenstown bartender Jason
Following a long period working in Australia's hospitality
industry, Mr Sanderson moved to Wanaka to fill a gap in the
market with his craft cocktail bar.
Further establishing Lalaland's name in the industry was good
motivation to try for the national Diageo title again, he
''And to take some of the shine off the North Island and
Auckland and Wellington, who seem to get all the love when it
comes to these sorts of competitions.''
During the past three months, New Zealand entrants have
completed a series of challenges, including creating a
cocktail list to suit their clientele, throwing a themed
party, sitting a written test and having their bar
''It's not just about who can make the best drink, it's also
about who knows their audience, who can organise a party, who
can be a manager.''
Mr Sanderson finished first in all the challenges, which he
said was a ''bit of a confidence boost''.
However, on Monday all five finalists' scores would be reset.
''It's a blank slate, so I guess it's just see how everyone
goes under the pressure.''
At Auckland, bartenders will make their signature cocktail
for more than 100 guests over a two-hour period and compete
in a speed challenge, mixing multiple cocktails in a matter
Mr Sanderson's signature drink, Breakfast at Tiffany's, is a
blend of Tanqueray No. 10 gin, a pink grapefruit and
chamomile tea reduction, fresh citrus, egg white to give a
''fluffy'' consistency, a dehydrated citrus and candied
rhubarb garnish and a grapefruit and chamomile mist over the
top ''like a perfume''.
It is the top-seller at Lalaland.
Mr Sanderson said the competition was well-established
overseas and offered some ''huge'' opportunities.
The winner of the Australian battle gets $100,000 to open a
Last year's UK contenders made ''mile-high cocktails'' aboard
a Boeing 747 and the 2013 global final took place during a
five-day cruise in the Mediterranean.
''So you can get an idea of the scale of the competition ...
it's quite exciting to be part of it at the start of it in
New Zealand, where you can see so much progress every year.''