Diageo Reserve has announced this year’s World Class GB finalists, following an intense cocktail battle yesterday (15 May) as the nation’s top 35 bartenders were narrowed down to ten.
Testing their skills, adaptability and spirit knowledge at Diageo’s Customer Collaboration Centre in Park Royal, competitors were challenged throughout the day, to be in with a chance of winning a place in the GB World Class final in June, to be held in Edinburgh. Each bartender took part in three challenges, themed around sustainability and culinary techniques.
The first challenge, Flavour on the fly, was a liquid led challenge designed to test bartenders’ ability to play with flavour and balance a drink. Competitors were given a guided workshop by an industry professional, before being asked to apply those skills to create a drink. Challenge two, 119.5 seconds to go! saw competitors take part in a speed round, where they were asked to make two classic cocktails and pour a Guinness, in 119.5 seconds; the exact amount of time that it has been scientifically proven to pour the perfect pint.
The final challenge, Breakfast Martini tested contestants’ knowledge of brunch and creativity in using everyday ingredients and equipment that you would find in a typical home. Contestants were put on the spot and asked to present, as if it was a real television talk show to test their presenting skills. Bartenders created all serves using brands from Diageo’s World Class portfolio including; Ketel One Vodka, Ciroc, Tanqueray No. TEN, Don Julio, Ron Zacapa 23, Bulleit Bourbon, Talisker 10, Roe & Co and Johnnie Walker Black Label.
This year’s judging panel, included; Andy Ives (Bar Life), Simon Difford (Difford’s Guide), Sandrae Lawrence (Cocktail Lovers) and Craig Harper (Fever Tree); Diageo Reserve World Class GB Manager, Stephen Martin; Diageo Reserve GB Brand Ambassadors Ali Reynolds, Colin Dunn, Jo Tivey, Kate Jackson, Jenna Ba, and European Brand Ambassadors Dave Beatty, and Deano Moncrieffe.
Following an intense day of challenges, the judges and finalists made their way to London’s Nine Lives, where Stephen Martin, Diageo Reserve World Class GB Manager and Ali Reynolds, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador announced the final ten finalists of the competition, who’s unusual flavour pairings, skills, creativity and open-minded thinking stood out to the judges, making them this year’s World Class finalists. Huge congratulations to:
Dave Hall – Terrior Tapas
Kieran Grieves – Bonbar
Georgia Billing – Sexy Fish
James Bowker – The Wilderness
Adam Day – Peggy’s Bar
Manachain Monaghan – Below Stairs
Luke Robinson – Cub
Daniel Warren – Last Chance
Daniel Bovey – Hyde & Co.
Cameron Attfield – Dandelyan
Stephen Martin, Diageo Reserve World Class GB Manager Commented: “This year’s competition is themed around sustainability and culinary techniques and we’ve seen some really unusual flavour pairings and innovative thinking from the bartenders competing. It’s incredible to witness the UK’s best bartenders thinking on their feet and delivering exceptional drinks in a challenge environment. The level of talent in the competition was incredibly high this year, and it wasn’t an easy task to whittle down our top 35 bartenders to just ten World Class finalists. We’re incredibly excited to see them all compete at the GB final in June, though it’s clear our judges have a job on their hands in selecting just one winner.”
The 2018 Diageo Reserve World Class GB Bartender of the Year will receive a number of prizes including:
- Nationwide media exposure and dedicated PR for the World Class GB Winner and their bar throughout the year
- A 12 month contract worth a minimum of £5,000 to tour with the World Class team hosting workshops & bartending at high profile and prestigious events throughout the UK
- Fly to Schiedam for an exclusive two day Culinary Experience with a mystery Chef at the Ketel One Distillery
- A two day Malts Advocate course in Scotland with Whisky Gurus Dave Broom or Charles MacLean
- Be part of the World Class Bartender Exchange and travel to three European countries to guest bartend behind some of the World’s Best Bars
- A £300 voucher for a personalised Cocktail Kingdom kit
- Professional signature serve and profile photoshoot with top industry photographer
- And finally…Fly to Berlin to represent your Country in the World Class Global Finals 2018 for a once in a lifetime experience