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Melbourne barman is world's best

Melbourne barman is world's best

Source: The Australian, by John Lethlean, 9 October 2018

An ex-pat Italian who calls Melbourne home has won one of the world's most prestigious competitions for barmen.

Orlando Marzo, who creates drinks at the boundary-pushing Lume restaurant in South Melbourne, has been named "Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year" for 2018, in Berlin.

He nudged out 10,000 original entrants from around the world and a short-list of 55 international finalists to take top marks at the four-day event, with results announced Tuesday morning Sydney-time.

"All the finalists brought their A game, but Orlando really was on another level," according to judge Lauren Mote. "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."

Marzo began his bar career in Rimini, Italy. He came to Australia from Britain in 2013, eventually working for the internationally acclaimed chef Heston Blumenthal at his Melbourne restaurant before moving to Lume. According to Lume's Veronica Fil, Marzo already had an international reputation when he landed in Melbourne after working at some of London's most famous bars, including The Player and Milk & Honey.

"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," Marzo said after the event "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!"

According to Fil, Marzo beat his Australian competition to get to Berlin with a drink combining Johnnie Walker Blender's Batch Rum Cask Finish whisky, Marionette orange curacao, David Franz Old Redemption XO Tawny, and flavours of caramelised pear, clove and tarragon.

"The drink involves one very special ingredient — the work of graphic and industrial designers and an aerospace engineer," she said.

Marzo's competition winning Silver Fizz was less technical, but nonetheless successful.

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