Diageo World Class 2020 Announcements: First GB Top 15 Qualifiers, New Ambassadors, London Cocktail Week Events

Diageo Reserve release a raft of announcements, which include the names of the first three bartenders into the competition’s GB top 15, and new ambassador team appointments

World Class 2020 was in mid-flow when the coronavirus pandemic arrived and turned our lives, and industry, upside down. Along with every other major industry event, Diageo Reserve’s flagship bartending competition was put on hold while brands and event-organisers figured out how to resume business safely, but as of today, World Class is back, and it makes a very welcome change to be writing about a competition that is getting under way again.

First three competitors  join World Class GB Top 15

World Class 2020 resumes with the ‘Bottle Cocktail Challenge’, in partnership with Cocktail Porter and London Cocktail Week, in which the GB Top 100 were split into three groups – Ketel One, Johnnie Walker Black Label and Tanqueray No. TEN, and tasked with the creation of a bottled cocktail based on the classic serves, Espresso Martini, Tom Collins and the High Ball.

The winner from each of the three categories has been named, and each secures a place in the GB Final 15:

James Rawcliffe – Tigerlily, Edinburgh
‘Eastern Adventure’ – (Tom Collins adaptation) – Tanqueray No. TEN, kaffir, pineapple & lemongrass cordial, Belsazar riesling, soda

Kuba Korzynski – Black Rock, London
‘Esprimita Martini’ – (Espresso Martini adaptation) – Coffee & coconut Ketel One, crème de
cacao blanc, coconut water

Stevie Kane – Baccarat Bar, London
‘Jasmana Highball’ – (Highball adaptation) – Johnnie Walker Black Label, banana and jasmine
cordial, soda

Rawcliffe, Korzynski, and Kane will have their cocktails produced in a cocktail kit format for consumers to purchase via Cocktail Porter, featured on the London Cocktail Week website.

Now that the first GB Top 15 challenge is complete, information on upcoming challenges will be released over the coming months.

World Class at London Cocktail Week

World Class have also announced a host of activities that will take place during London Cocktail Week, this October. New for 2020 is the Whisky House at Goods Way, a collection of curated experiences, events & masterclasses designed to showcase and celebrate whisk(e)y. Taking place in the food, drink and music hub, Goods Way in Kings Cross, Whisky House will offer exploration and tastings of exclusive whiskies, masterclasses and interactive evening experiences. Additionally, a partnership with Drinks Drop means that RTD £6 cocktails will be available from World Class partner bars – with fifty pence from the sale of every cocktail going back to the bar partners.

Throughout the month of October, three World Class masterclasses will take place each week at Whisky House, hosted by the World Class team, led by brand ambassadors from Johnnie Walker, Ketel One Vodka and Tanqueray. Those unable to attend can watch ‘Whisky House at Home & Online’ digital masterclass,  which will be streamed every Thursday at 7pm.

More London Cocktail Week programme details will be released over the coming weeks.

The World Class team expands

With so much on their collective plates, it’s no surprise that Diageo have recruited three new World Class team members.

Pippa Guy becomes the new Tanqueray ambassador for Great Britain. Previously Senior bartender at the Savoy’s American Bar, Pippa was the first female in nearly a century to be positioned in this role, and the first female ever to wear The Savoy’s iconic white jacket. Jo Last becomes whisky brand ambassador, and Miriam “Mimi” Scofield – TLA Account Executive, well-seasoned in the industry working with some of the world’s most renowned establishments for over 15 years. Jack Sotti, previously Senior Tanqueray Ambassador, has been promoted to Head of Advocacy GB where he will be the key lead on the community’s advocacy programme.

Sotti says of the developments: “We are incredibly excited to bring World Class back to GB, with a new and adapted program to champion bartender creativity in the face of adversity. We have stripped back and rebuilt the competition to allow bartenders with no bar or budget to compete, and are airing our exciting new 4-part series with Crucible to kickstart their inspiration. Most notably World Class is about people, and so it gives me the utmost pride to welcome Pippa, Jo and Mimi to our diverse and passionate team.”

Congratulations to everyone involved, it’s great to have World Class back and hopefully this is the first of many such articles BarLifeUK will write in the weeks to come.