Over the last couple of days ten of the best bartenders in the UK have been battling it out for the crown of Diageo Reserve World Class GB Bartender of the Year 2018.
Scotland has seen some epic battles in its time and the line-up of this years World Class GB Finals meant that this was going to be no exception (with slightly less blood spilt presumably).
The final ten going into the two day final were:
- Kieran Grieves, Bonbar, Newcastle
- David Hall, Terroir Tapas, Bournemouth
- Manacháin Monaghan, Below Stairs, Leeds
- Luke Robinson, Cub, London
- Daniel Warren, Last Chance, Nottingham
- Cameron Attfield, Dandelyan, London
- Georgia Billing, Sexy Fish, London
- Daniel Bovey, Hyde & Co, Bristol
- James Bowker, The Wilderness, Birmingham
- Adam Day, Peggy’s Bar, Manchester
Diageo Reserve World Class is designed to test bartenders across many different skills and this years final was no exception.
Kicking off at Edinburgh Grand Hotel the finalists were tested on their hospitality skills and ability to create a welcoming experience in the aptly named ‘Perfect Welcome Cocktail’ challenge. As if the pressure of the competition itself wasn’t enough Diageo upped the anti giving the bartenders just five minutes to prepare for the presentation and another five to present to the panel of judges with a drink that had to contain either Ketel One, Tanqueray No. Ten or Don Julio.
After a relaxing night which probably involved not enough sleep (either thanks to Edinburgh’s awesome bar scene or sleep interrupting nerves) day two saw them heading to the Gleneagles Hotel.
There they joined Diageo Brand Ambassador Ali Reynolds at the Shooting Lodge to create a smoked cocktail using and highlighting the smokey notes of Johnnie Walker Black Label. This time they had more preparation time with the challenge being sent to them before they left the comfort of their own bars.
They were asked to pre-prepare the cocktail and put it in a hip-flask which travelled with them to Scotland. In their opulent surroundings they presented the cocktail alongside an inspirational tale of its creation to the judging panel.
The final challenge was entitled ‘The 19th Hole’ and took place over looking the Queen’s Golf Course in the Auchterarder 70 Club House. This time the finalists were asked to imagine they had just been appointed as the new bar manager at the venue and were tasked with creating the new Club House signature serve.
So far so do-able right? Yeah, it was never going to be that simple.
They were given five minutes to prepare their station before their shift started and 10 minutes to present to the judges. They were scored on how well they entertained and hosted guests and well as the judges whilst they created two full serves for the judges and 15 sample sized versions for the guests.
On top of that (because it seems the minds behind World Class are a whole new level of evil) they had to take orders from customers from a bespoke World Class Classics Menu including: Tanqueray No. TEN and tonic, Zacapa Daiquiri, Don Julio Margarita, Ketel One Dutch Mule and Johnnie Walker High Ball.
At the end of all that they all deserve some sort of medal, however only one could emerge from the battle field victorious and that honour fell to Daniel Warren from Last Chance in Nottingham.
Daniel not only get’s huge bragging rights but this very impressive prize package:
- Nationwide media exposure & dedicated PR for the World Class GB Winner & 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 & prestigious events throughout the UK
- Fly to Schiedam for an exclusive 2-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 serves & profile photo shoot with top industry photographer
Plus, of course, to represent Great Britain in the World Class Global Finals 2018 in Berlin.
Huge congratulations to Daniel and also to the other finalists for getting to the finals which is no mean feat in itself. Also to Diageo Reserve for, once again, a fantastic competition.
We will be following Daniel on his journey so keep an eye out for more of his adventures.