Sai Hamsala takes Diplomático World Tournament title

Sai Hamsala from New Zealand has won the final of the Diplomático World Tournament 2015, taking home a prize of $10,000.

Hamsala prevailed from a field of twenty eight competitors with his cocktail Just in Time at Jirahara Hotel in Barquisimeto in Venezuela. 

Combining rum, pineapple and thyme, the drink impressed judges, who awarded second place to Orlando Marzo of Australia, who won $5,000, and third place to José Luis León of Mexico, who took the cheque for $2,500.

The judging panel comprised: Carina Soto Velasquez co-owner of Candelaria, Glass and Mary Celeste Bars in Paris; Nathan Beasley of Pearl Bar in Melbourne; Dennis Zoppi, owner of the Smile Tree Cocktail Bar in Turin; UK cocktail expert Ben Reed; and Anthony Medina, Venezuelan winner of the Diplomático World Tournament in 2013.

The eight-day event, hosted by global rum ambassador Ian Burrell, included two qualification rounds that narrowed the field to eight finalists.

Hamsala said: “I have always dreamt of winning a global cocktail world tournament. I feel that I have achieved something very big thanks to all the passion and work I have put into bartending for the past 8 years.”

José Rafael Ballesteros, president of Diplomático Rum said: “We are thrilled to have hosted the Diplomático World Tournament for a second time in Barquisimeto, Diplomático’s hometown.”

“To see all this talent from individuals from all over the world is truly a satisfaction. We congratulate Sai on winning the 2015 Diplomático World Tournament as it was well deserved. We also look forward to future tournaments and experiencing first hand all the innovation that can be found in the cocktail industry.”

The top three finalists’ cocktail recipes were as follows:

JUST IN TIME by Sai Hamsala – New Zealand

45ml Diplomatico Blanco Reserva

15ml Dom Benedictine

45ml Freshly pressed pineapple juice

10ml Lime juice

15ml Thyme syrup (1:1)

2 dashes of Paychauds bitters

Garnish: Lemon twist and star anise

REMEMBER THE LOVE by Orlando Marzo - Australia

50ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

5ml Papelón and honey sugar

5ml Cherry liqueur

20ml Lillet Rouge

2 dashes of chocolate bitters Garnish: ice sphere with orange twist

DIPLOMÁTICO PUNCH by José luis León - Mexico

50ml Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

25ml Port (Ruby)

10ml Maraschino

7.5ml fresh lime juice

7.5ml fresh orange juice

1 bsp brown sugar

Garnish: orange wedge, pineapple and strawberry