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Words: Lucy Sarah O’Connell | Images: Supplied

In 2017, it was impossible to talk about of the world of South African bartending without mentioning the name Julian Short. As the owner of the popular and innovative bar Sin and Tax in Rosebank, and the 2017 World Class South African bartender of the year, it seemed that Julian was at his peak, but as 2018 rolls on it’s clear that this inventive lover of drinks is just getting started. He tells us what this year has in store for him.

What was it like representing South Africa at the World Class cocktail competition last year?
Last year, I put a lot of e­ffort into it, but in all honesty, I really wasn’t prepared mentally for what happened next at all. The global championships took place in Mexico, and a little while before the championships the organisers sent out a massive brief on the four challenges we’d receive when we got there. The challenges are really as much about the cocktails themselves as they are about how you present them. It was a huge learning experience for me.

Will you take up the challenge to represent South Africa again this year?
Winning the national competition last year was like a dream, but then when I got to Mexico, it brought me right back down to earth again! Now that I’m back in South Africa, I think I’ve learnt a whole lot about stress and pressure. The people you’re competing against are the best in the world, and so are the judges – they’ve seen 50 people every year. So, you have to really be yourself. It was the biggest lesson of my competitive bartending career so far. I’ll definitely be using that experience to put everything into competing again this year.

What else is on your radar?
ell, Sin and Tax will undeniably always be a huge focus for me. We won the World Class award for Best Bar in 2017, as well as Best Bar Team. This year, we’re going to go all out to retain those titles. Come join us for a drink!

For more information on Sin and Tax, you can phone them on 010 900 4987 or visit their website.

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