Once in a rare while, somebody comes along who doesn’t just raise the bar, they create an entirely new standard of measurement.
Diageo Reserve does not just offer world class liquor to the connoisseurs; it has taken a giant stride to transform fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture around the world. When it’s ##WorldClass it surely is a class apart.
World Class is the world’s largest and most exclusive bartending competition and mixology education programme that celebrates the sills and creativity of bartenders and introduces the latest cocktail making trends to the global community.
Since its inception in the UK in 2009, this unique platform, which aims to nurture the potential talent of local bartenders and enable them with the right knowledge, has spread around the globe, inspiring and educating bartenders in the art of mixology and has now become a permanent fixture in the diary for mixology heavyweights of the luxury drinks industry.
A cocktail connoisseur, I was there for the national finals of the 2017 event wherein twelve budding Indian bartenders from across the finest hotels of Mumbai competed for the title of India’s top mixologist, while sharpening their skills on the art of mixology, grooming and etiquette.
Competing in multiple regional levels before descending in Mumbai for the national finals over the last six months, the twelve contenders from the most prominent bars in India were judged by an expert panel consisting of Donald Colville, Diageo Global Scotch Ambassador – Malts, Nicholas Ord, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador and Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier & CEO, All Things Nice.
Having gone through a rigorous training procedure to survive till the end the contestants were judged on the basis of three rounds – The Blind Tasting Round, The Speed Round and The Mystery Box Round.
Starting off with twelve contestants each one of them having their eyes firmly set on the global final which will help them become world-class bartenders and emerge into the international arena, the elimination process saw six contestants participating in the second round and finally three in final round, the winner from India was finally chosen who will represent the bar and the country in the Global World class finals in Mexico.
#WorldClass is the industry’s biggest and most prestigious bartending competition which offers a gamut of luxury spirits from the Diageo Reserve portfolio namely Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18, Talisker 10YO, the Singleton of Glen Ord 12YO, Tanqueray 10, CÎROC and Ketel One.
Diageo Reserve World Class and its International Brand Ambassadors had trained & mentored almost 300 bartenders across the top luxury accounts in India over the last six months on their Reserve Portfolio as well as modules on global cocktail trends such as the History of Bartending Techniques, Sustainability in Cocktail Making, and the Art of Storytelling which was quite evident in the performance of each of the twelve contestants.
Edging his competitors and swaying the judges with his speed, meticulous execution and balanced cocktails, Rohan Rege, from Paasha – JW Marriott, Pune was conferred the title of the India Bartender of the Year at Diageo Reserve World Class 2017 to go ahead and take on the world’s best bartenders at Diageo’s ninth annual Global Diageo World Class Competition that will be held in Mexico in August, 2017.
Having qualified till the last Mystery Box Round, runners up Jitender Singh Rana from Perch, Delhi and Kevin Dias from Hakkasan, Mumbai too impressed the judges and the attendees with their creativity and craftsmanship, ending up in the second and third position respectively.
Aimed at transforming fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture which encourages people to drink better and responsibly, the Diageo Bar Academy Program reinforces the company’s commitment to the bartending community.
The acclaimed program takes an innovative and fresh approach to training, offering interactive and informative sessions led by the industry’s best since its launch having hosted more than 5,500 training sessions with over 55,000 bartenders trained worldwide.
Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice of celebrating Life, Every Day, Everywhere.