Rocky girl crowned Australia's best cocktail mixer
IT'S OFFICIAL; Rockhampton's Alissa Gabriel is Australia's best cocktail maker.
The 21-year-old took out first place at the Bacardi Legacy National Finals in Melbourne last week where she presented her very own cocktail, the Bouteiller.
And her Bacardi-inspired mixture had the judges talking and wanting more.
Alissa said she didn't think she had a chance of winning.
"The competition was one of the most stressful things I've done," she said.
"Getting up on stage and presenting my drink was one of the most exciting and terrifying things I've done.
"When they announced the winner, I couldn't believe it. I almost started crying."
As part of the presentation, Alissa not only had to create her cocktail but also sell the drink to the judges.
"I had one of the weakest performances on the night as my nerves got to me," she said.
"Because my presentation wasn't scripted, I think it came across very natural and was what pulled me over the line.
"I kept getting tripped up on my script in the practice beforehand and my Bacardi rep said to me, 'You know your story, you know your drink, you've been pushing it for three months; just go up there and be yourself'.
"And that's what I did, I just went up on stage and was the little country girl from Rockhampton."
The Bacardi Legacy competition is all about creating the next iconic white Cuban rum-based drink, one that could match the status of the Mojito or Daiquiri.
And Alissa's Bouteiller has done just that. The Bouteiller will now feature on the menus of 35 Queensland bars, two national bars and three international venues. "As the winner of the national competition, Bacardi is sending me to Tales of a Cocktail finals in New Orleans in July, so I'm very excited for that," she said.
"I'm really hoping to use this chance to network with other global bartenders and set myself up to move to the US next year to pursue a career as a professional bartender."
Alissa will compete in the global finals in Sydney in May.
CELEB'S FAVE COCKTAILS:
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45ml Bacardi Carta Oro
10ml Dry Vermouth
(Caribbean spiced syrup)
Two dashes Peychauds
Mist Green Chartreuse
Garnish with a lime twist