Australia's Luke Ashton might be squinting as the race for bartender of the year kicks off in Europe this weekend.
Because an Aussie, Tim Philips, took home the top title last year, the spotlight is set to be on the Aussie bartender when he heads to the French Riviera for the global Diageo Reserve World Class competition.
"I don't necessarily know if there's going to be pressure applied to me, but certainly perhaps to a certain extent I'll be in the spotlight," Ashton says.
"I think they're probably going to look to what Australia's bringing to the table."
The global final kicks off this weekend on a cruise ship that sets sail on the French Riviera in Nice and Monte Carlo and finishes up in Barcelona.
Ashton, from Vasco, a bar in Sydney's Surry Hills, will duke it out against 49 other bartenders around the world over the next five days.
But the modest Aussie may have trouble being known as bartender of the year.
Even though he battled it out for three days against more than 200 of Australia's best bartenders to be crowned the national winner, and even though he says it's amazing to have won, Ashton's not exactly comfortable with the title.
"There's a lot of people out there that I do admire and I think are potentially better bartenders than myself as well."
He says it's "lovely" to be the winner, but "I don't think it's the only measuring stick out there".
"I've only been bartending professionally going on four years now (and) I think any bartender worth their salt will tell you it's a constant learning process."
Along with the title of Australian bartender of the year, Ashton was also awarded a whopping $100,000 to go toward opening his own bar.
He says it's an exciting prospect. "I do like the idea of having an '80s-inspired bar," he says.
Although, he adds, he doesn't want it themed. More for it to have some of the "stylistic references" you might recognise if you lived through the era or had seen movies from around then.
Not bad for someone who only came back to bartending less than five years ago, after working in the corporate and media worlds for more than a decade.
But is Ashton worried about opening his own place, with so many bars and restaurants being forced to close in Sydney?
"I think there will always naturally be a churning of bars and restaurants, (because) the Sydney market likes something new," he says.
"So I think you need to be on top of that and sort of update yourself ... (and) the cream always rises.
"The bars that have a good offering, have people behind the helm that really care about what they're doing, will hopefully last the distance."