Dean Buchanan 2018 Winner

There are so many good bartenders in Perth. The days when one said cynically, for a good cocktail hop a  plane to Melbourne, are long gone.

Local drinks-makers like James Pennefather at Tiny’s, Jamie Passmore at Varnish, Tom Kearney at The Palace Arcade, Phil Weber from Si Paradiso, Billy Phillips from Morries Bar and many more could show Melbourne barkeeps a thing or two about cocktails. We’ve never had it better in this town. 

What does it take to be Bartender of the Year though? You need damn good skills. You have to be able to curate a first-rate and interesting catalogue of spirits. You have to have a well-organised bar and the pre-planning and managerial skills to be able to serve great cocktails, even when the punters are 10-deep at the bar. You absolutely must have good ice and big ice. And, despite all the wild creativity going on out there these days, if a bartender can’t make a faultless classic like a Sazerac, old fashioned, whisky sour, Manhattan or gin martini, he or she has no place winning this award.

Which is why the judging panel was very happy to celebrate the work and passion of Long Chim head bartender Dean Buchanan and bestow upon him The West Australian Good Food Guide Bartender of the Year Award for 2018.

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If a bartender can’t make a faultless classic like a Sazerac, old fashioned, whisky sour, Manhattan or gin martini, he or she has no place winning this award."