Singaporean Peter Chua wins title of best bartender in South-east Asia

Singaporean Peter Chua, winner of Southeast Asia Best Bartender of the Year at the inaugural Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia Finals and Bar Show 2014. -- PHOTO: DIAGEO
Singaporean Peter Chua, winner of Southeast Asia Best Bartender of the Year at the inaugural Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia Finals and Bar Show 2014. -- PHOTO: DIAGEO

If you want to taste cocktails from the best bartender in South-east Asia, just head down to cocktail bar 28 Hong Kong Street.

On Friday night, its bartender, Singaporean Peter Chua, won the title of Southeast Asia Best Bartender of the Year at the inaugural Diageo Reserve World Class Southeast Asia Finals and Bar Show 2014.

The annual Diageo Reserve World Class bartending competition is considered one of the most prestigious international bartending competitions in the world.

Chua, 26, beat 25 contestants from around the region to emerge the winner. He will go on to represent Singapore at the global finals in the United Kingdom in July. He will be the second Singaporean to compete at the global competition since local bartender Aubrey Sim, formerly of whisky bar B28, competed at the event in 2009.

During the two-day competition held here on Thursday and Friday, Chua had to complete a series of cocktail challenges. They included an ingredients challenge where contestants were given 30 minutes and a budget of $20 to purchase fresh produce from Tiong Bahru market to create a cocktail, and a speed challenge where contestants had eight minutes to make a minimum of six cocktails.

Chua says of his win: "Competition was stiff, everyone did so well and I had no idea that I had won. I was completely overwhelmed."

One of the guest judges of the competition, American bartender Jeff Bell of PDT New York and a Diageo Reserve World Class 2013 runner-up, says of Chua: "Peter is a product of his own environment. He's surrounded himself with talented mentors and it shows. He's got the skill and technique, but what made him really stand out is his swagger, you know that he's a champion. You can feel it in every serve."

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