Local barman Peter Chua flew the flag high for his country at one of the most prestigious international bartending competitions held in Edinburgh and London.
The 26-year-old senior bartender from cocktail bar 28 Hong Kong Street competed with 47 of the world’s best bartenders making it to the top six in the annual Diageo Reserve World Class global finals.
It is the best result for a Singaporean in the competition. No rankings are given for the top six.
Moreover, he was crowned overall winner in the Zacapa Gastronomy Challenge, where contestants were tested on their ability to pair cocktails with food.
London barman and Diageo Reserve World Class global ambassador Spike Marchant, who presented the award to Chua on stage, says: “The future of bartending in Singapore is in extremely good hands with this young man.”
The last time a Singaporean made it to the global finals in the competition was back in 2009. Aubrey Sim, formerly of whiskey bar B28, competed, but she did not make it to top 16.
Chua says of his performance at the global finals this year: “The experience has been nothing short of phenomenal. From the people I’ve met – the world’s foremost bar gurus and the best bartenders in the world – to competing at the iconic St Pancras Station in London, it has truly been a once in a lifetime event.”
He adds: “Singapore’s bar scene has grown so much in the last couple of years and the local bar fraternity is made up of the most passionate, supportive and inspiring bunch of people...I gave it my all and am very happy with where I’ve come and all I’ve learnt on this incredible journey.”
In May, Chua had won the title of South-east Asia’s Bartender of the Year at the inaugural Diageo Reserve World Class South-east Asia Finals and Bar Show, qualifying him to compete in the global competition, which started on July 28.
In Edinburgh, Chua had to compete in two cocktail challenges: one where bartenders had to merge their own backgrounds with the best of Scottish culture in a Johnnie Walker challenge, and one where contestants had to create a tray-service that tested their ability to create drinks that had elements of sight, smell, touch, and sound.
From there, Chua travelled to London, where he was made to compete at the iconic St Pancras Station, creating a classic martini alongside a new modern twist on the drink for a panel of judges.
Among the other challenges, Chua was made to create cocktails inspired by writers and books, and to create three bespoke variations of classic cocktails.