Orlando Marzo from Melbourne’s Lûmé restaurant was named Diageo’s World Class Global Bartender of the Year at a global final held in Berlin last night.
The Australian bartender beat over 10,000 bartenders from every corner of the globe in a competition that spanned five continents, six months, hundreds of challenges and countless cocktails.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, World Class culminated in a four-day global final held in Berlin, an eclectic capital known for its cutting-edge bar scene.
56 bartenders were whittled down to the final four: Orlando Marzo, Great Britain’s Daniel Warren, Laura Newman from the USA, and Gökhan Kuşoğlu from Turkey.
Australian native Orlando’s winning cocktails impressed the judges across all rounds, which included the Ketel One ‘Better Drinking’ challenge, ‘Flavours of a Nation’ round and the ‘Cocktail Clash’ Grand Finale.
Diageo global cocktailian and World Class judge Lauren Mote said: “All the finalists brought their A game, but Orlando really was on another level.
“The Zacapa aperitif he made for the ‘Before and After’ challenge was one of the best I’ve ever tasted and the way he held his nerve in the ‘Cocktail Clash’ finale – for me, that’s the mark of a truly World Class bartender.”
Orlando cites that hard work and an incredibly supportive bar team back home, is his recipe for success.
He said: “I can’t believe it! Just being here, competing alongside the best bartenders in the world, judged by some of the most iconic names in the business was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but to actually win? I’m still in shock
“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing team back home – they’ve cheered me on every step of the way!”
Orlando has an incredible year ahead of him; he will have the chance to travel the world as a Diageo representative, making bespoke drinks in exotic and far-flung locations and judging competitions. He will also join a roll call of the industry’s finest, becoming the 10th member of the World Class Hall of Fame.
Emily Wheldon, global head of World Class, said: “For the 10th anniversary of World Class, we were on a mission to make this the biggest and best Global Finals yet – and it didn’t disappoint!
“Cocktail culture continues to reign, and over the last four days in Berlin, these World Class finalists have set the standard for the year to come. The venue was spectacular, the challenges more innovative and exciting than ever before and the talent on display was second to none.
“The aim of World Class is to inspire people to care as much about drinks as they do about food, and we’ve certainly achieved that here this weekend!”