Sai Hamsala representing New Zealand wins the Diplomático World Tournament Final in Venezuela
Sai Hamsala, representing New Zealand, has become the new champion of the Diplomático World Tournament. Sai, excelled among the other twenty-seven competitors with his cocktail Just in time. This delicious and sophisticated cocktail, combining pineapple and thyme flavors, captivated the judges. In addition to winning the prestigious tittle of the Diplomático’s World Best Bartender, Sai also received $10,000 in prize money, as well as the great honor of representing his country.
The eight-day event, from April 11th to the 19th, included two classification rounds that narrowed down the competition to eight finalists. The eight finalists presented their final cocktail on April 16th in front of a panel of five judges in a wonderful setting in the terrace of Barquisimeto’s Jirahara Hotel.
“We are thrilled to have hosted the Diplomático World Tournament for a second time in Barquisimeto -Venezuela, Diplomático’s hometown. To see all this talent from individuals from all over the world is truly a satisfaction,” said José Rafael Ballesteros, President of Diplomático Rum. “We congratulate Sai on winning the 2015 Diplomático World Tournament as it was well deserved. We also look forward to future tournaments and experiencing first hand all the innovation that can be found in the cocktail industry,” added Mr. Ballesteros.
Ian Burrell, renowned global rum ambassador, hosted the competition for the second time; making it once again a memorable experience. The panel of judges included: Carina Soto Velasquez, founder and co-owner of Candelaria, Glass & Mary Celeste Bars in Paris; Nathan Beasley, bartender of the year in the 2014 Australian Bar Awards and bartender at Black Pearl Bar in Melbourne; Dennis Zoppi, winner of numerous cocktail competitions and owner of the Smile Tree Cocktail Bar in Turin; and Ben Reed, global cocktail ambassador and one key opinion leader in the UK’s cocktail industry. Anthony Medina, Venezuelan bartender and winner of the Diplomático World Tournament in 2013, was also part of the judging panel for Thursday’s final competition.
The judges evaluated the cocktails based on three main criteria: 1. Technique and Presentation, 2. Look and Decoration, and 3. Organoleptic Subjects, which include taste, texture, aroma, look, and balance. After carefully evaluating the eight finalists’ cocktails, Sai’s Just in time was the favorite among the judges.
“I have always dreamt of winning a global cocktail world tournament. I feel that I have achieved something very big thanks to all the passion and work I have put into bartending for the past 8 years,” said Sai Hamsala.
Second place and the $5,000 prize money was awarded to Orlando Marzo representing Australia with his cocktail Remember the Love. José Luis León from Mexico took the third place honor and prize money of $2,500 with his cocktail Diplomático Punch.
Finalists’ Cocktail Recipes:
1.JUST IN TIME by Sai Hamsala – New Zealand
45ml Diplomatico Blanco Reserva
15ml Dom Benedictine
45ml Freshly pressed pineapple juice
10ml Lime juice
15ml Thyme syrup (1:1)
2 dashes of Paychauds bitters
Garnish: Lemon twist and Star Anise
2.REMEMBER THE LOVE by Orlando Marzo – Australia
50 ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
5 ml Papelón and honey sugar
5 ml Cherry liqueur
20 ml Lillet Rouge
2 dashes of chocolate bitters
Garnish: ice sphere with orange twist
3.DIPLOMÁTICO PUNCH by José luis León – Mexico
50 ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
25 ml Port (Ruby)
10 ml Maraschino
7.5 ml fresh lime juice
7.5 ml fresh orange juice
1 bsp brown sugar
Garnish: orange wedge, pineapple and strawberry