It’s a Sher thing recently attended the World Class Competition in Sandton. This is where the best of the best mixologists across the country, come together and compete for the WCC title, as well as a trip overseas. This year, the trip was in Madrid. We noticed that there was only one female mixologist, Cassandra, who was in the final this year and so we had to chat with her.
See our exclusive below:
I noticed that you were the only female in this comp. Why do you think more woman do not get involved?
There were a handful of women who entered the competition and made it to the regional rounds in 2021 – Sabrina Traubner, Kim Munro and Taneale van der Merwe (to mention a few). They were all great representatives of both bartenders and women. But in a competition, the judges evaluate presentations based on brief interpretation and scoring criteria. Fortunately for me, I ticked the boxes and I am hoping to help more women in the next year achieve better scoring so that we can have more diversity in the nationals 2022.
Which drinks did you present to the judges?
In the national round we had to develop 17 signature cocktails – here are a few that were my favourites:
Talisker 10, Pickled Roasted Red Pepper Brine, Clarified Pineapple Juice with a coconut oil covered ice stave
Don Julio, Bitter Orange Liqueur, Salted Grapefruit Juice, Mead Remix served with a homemade basil and peppermint lip ice (Mead Remix – a blend of two different meads – honey wine – infused with dehydrated Grapefruit)
“Queen of Hearts”
Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Smoked Strawberry & Tomato Cordial with an orange and cacao foam. The additional garnish was an Anaglyph Print on rice paper which the judges had to view with 3D glasses.
Tanqueray 10, Guava & Rosemary Vermouth, Papaya Oleo Saccharum, Acid Blend with a Dry MCC.
Paired with a red pepper puree and parmesan cheese
What’s your favourite cocktail to enjoy?
I love myself a Margarita (Tequila, Orange Liqueur, Lime Juice) or Clover Club (Gin, Raspberry, Lemon).
If you were on a date, what cocktail would you make to impress?
It depends on the season, for summer you can’t go wrong with an exotic Rum tiki cocktail; for autumn a simple Highball; for winter a nice little Whisky blazer; and for Spring a Punch style drink.
How did you get into this line of work?
My career started in the events management industry, where I was introduced to mobile bar services. The idea of working with people and serving amazing drinks anywhere possible was the perfect gateway for me to build leadership, operational and training skills. Of course, it also offered the opportunity to network with various people in various lines of work. Eventually, I reached a growth cap and needed change. I was lucky to meet my current business partners at an event, where they offered me a partnership within a global bartending school franchise (European Bartender School) and in 2017 we opened the doors to the Cape Town branch. Now, my main focus is to offer the best bartender training in South Africa and help individuals grow by reaching their full potential as the future of our bartending generation.
How many years have you been in the industry?
10 years and more.
Where can we experience your cocktails?
You can find me doing guest shifts every now and then at various bars around Cape Town – alternatively, I am available for private events or consultations.
What’s next for you?
I’m all about progress – running the school and all its activities is a full-time job, but on the side, I am involved in bartender programmes and workshops. I would love to help more bartenders become better in competitions so that we can continue putting South Africa on the global map within the beverage world.
What advice do you have for peeps who want to follow in your footsteps?
“Don’t dream about success, work for it.” If you want to get into the bar industry, start from the bottom and work yourself up. Be willing to put the time into it, work hard, be kind, lead by example and strive for progress not perfection. Be patient and believe in yourself. This industry is demanding and teaches you a lot about your strengths and weaknesses, so find a mentor who can help push you in the right direction and fuels a positive mindset.
Gin or tequila?
I’m 100% a Tequila girl 🙂