Eight of the world’s pre-eminent experts in mixology, have arrived in South Africa for the prestigious WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition to decide on who will assume the title of world’s best bartender.
From bar-owners to some of the world’s best ever bartenders and authors, all of the eight judges are craftspeople in their fields and share an all-consuming passion: a desire to elevate and evolve cocktail culture through the finest, most innovative cocktails, using the best spirits & produce.
“Bartending in the best establishments today is akin to the skills of being a top chef. In this instance, it’s the ability to create a sophisticated signature cocktail in quick time in order to serve a customer a drink that is balanced in both taste and complexity,” says judge and Diageo global brand ambassador Spike Marchant.
“Add to this a sense of high entertainment and the expectation is that a bar-tender has a singular personality as well. In competitions like WORLD CLASS you have to have your wits about you.”
Indeed, with a life of celebrity and opportunity beckoning the winner, the stakes are high as 55 of the world’s most talented bartenders from the best bars in over 50 countries around the world go head-to-head in unique and unparalleled challenges over the next four days.
A landmark week in the luxury calendar, the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year will be announced on September 4th in Cape Town which has also been confirmed as World Cocktail Capital 2015.
And as the competing bartenders prepare to face their first challenges, here are the eight people they must impress the most:
Based in the UK, Salvatore has been making drinks for 40 years for the rich and famous, presidents and royalty, and is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the drinks industry.
Best known as the former head bartender of the iconic American bar at London’s Savoy hotel, where he served everyone from royalty to film stars including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin
One of America’s foremost experts, lecturers and writers on fine wine, beer, spirits and sake, with an impressive palate, Steve is recognised on the world stage with a string of accolades and awards.
The co-owner of some of New York’s finest cocktail joints and the consultant behind leading US hotel groups’ cocktail programmes from Manhattan to Hawaii.
Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS global brand ambassador, Spike has the task of designing the bartending challenges and hosting the finals each year.
Known as ‘King Cocktail’, Dale helped initiate the New York cocktail revolution and is credited with bringing back fresh ingredients to the bar as well as for perfecting the Cosmopolitan during his reign at Manhattan’s The Rainbow Room.
The artist formerly known as Gary Regan, is a charismatic and articulate Brit born to pub-owning parents who made his name in the New York bar scene before turning his hand to publishing.
Ueno-San is the embodiment of Japanese style, precision and theatricality. His small bar in Ginza, Tokyo is the epitome of modern hostmanship, where he personally looks after a select number of guests.
For tickets to the WORLD CLASS event and a R100 discount = R80 ticket which includes 2 complimentary drinks, click this link.