The first five finalists for this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class UK final have been announced, with a bartender from London boutique Rosewood Hotel making the cut.
A total of 50 semi-finalists were asked to compete in a series of challenges that tested their skills, adaptability and spirit knowledge.
Each session paid homage to the ‘mindful drinking’ theme of the competition, with bartenders invited to incorporate specific Diageo Reserve brands into their cocktails creations, including
Ron Zacapa, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve and Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Haig Club, Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye.
The final five were chosen on their hosting skills, creative use of flavours and understanding of the industry.
Scott Gavin from Rosewood London was chosen, alongside Liam Broom (Callooh Callay), Tim Laferla (City Social), Sean Fennelly (Milk & Honey) and Kyle Wilkinson (Blind pig).
The five bartenders will now compete in the UK final in May, where they will join an additional five UK finalists who will battle it out to be crowned Diageo Reserve World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2016.
This year the judging panel consist of industry experts such as head of World Class UK Dan Dove, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassadors; Andrea Montague, Colin Dunn, the World Class Ambassador for Western Europe, Max La Rocca and the UK winner of World Class 2015, Ali Reynolds.
Dan Dove, Head of World Class UK commented: “The calibre of bartenders competing this year is exceptionally high – each year seems to be progressive, but the broad thinking and unusual flavour pairings we’ve witnessed this year have taken the competition to a new level. All five finalists should be incredibly proud to have made it this far in the competition, and we very much look forward to seeing them again.”
The winner of the UK title will then go to Miami to compete in the global final.
In addition, the owner of the bar in which the UK winner works will receive a £10,000 marketing fund to create their own World Class ritual service.