Diageo Reserve announces UK World Class Bartender of the Year

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UPDATE: The competition will be live-streamed at www.theworldclassclub.com. Ali Reynolds is expected to compete on Tuesday September 1 at 1pm and Wednesday September 2 at 1.15pm (UK time).



A short note to remind you that Diageo Reserve’s World Class Global Final is taking place in South Africa next week (Monday 31st August to Friday 4th September). 55 finalists from across the globe will be competing in the biggest World Class competition to date, for the chance to be named the winner of World Class 2015. And The UK is in the final!

Ali Reynolds of Hawksmoor Spitalfields, will be battling it out after being crowned the Diageo Reserve World Class UK Bartender of the Year back in June. Ali’s knowledge, originality, insight and passion always shines through his creations. Singled out as the top bartender in the country in the UK final at Drummuir Castle he has proven himself as a leader of innovation and has displayed a complex set of skills throughout the competition.

Surely he has to win? We’re confident he has something special up his sleeve to impress the judges.

We will of course be sharing details of the winner the moment it has been announced. However if you’d like updates throughout the competition make sure you check out the live feed, available on The World Class Club website. Live from the 31st of August until the 4th of September it will include all the information required – the six finalists on Wednesday evening (5.30pm UK time) and the Global World Class 2015 winner announcement on Friday evening. The livestreaming will also allow you to see how the bartenders are performing during the challenges.

Ali is expected to be competing on Tuesday 1st September at 1pm and Wednesday 2nd at 1.15pm (UK time). So tune in and cheer him on!

The World Class Facebook and Instagram pages will also be regularly updated with the latest visuals and highlights from the competition.

To see what the bartenders are saying about the competition, check out the social media engagement on Instagram through the World Class specific tag and hashtags; @worldclass, #worldclass2015, #worldclassdrinks.

Livestreaming: https://www.theworldclassclub.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WorldClass
Instagram page: https://instagram.com/worldclass

Ali Reynolds (pictured) of Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London has been announced as the UK winner of the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition.

Along with nine other finalists, he faced a series of challenge over three days at Drummuir Castle in Scotland, from testing their whisky knowledge to creating drinks to pair with food.

Ali will go on to represent the UK at the global final in South Africa in September but will also become an official World Class mentor and judge and travel the world identifying, inspiring and educating new bartending talent. He will also be included in a promotion feature in GQ magazine.

Hawksmoor Spitalfields, where Ali has worked for three years, will not only benefit from increased exposure but will also receive a one-off £10,000 marketing fund to create an exclusive World Class ritual serve.

Ali said: “It’s a real honour to be crowned the World Class UK Bartender of the Year 2015. This year’s competition has been the biggest and best yet, with the innovative challenges stretching us on so many different levels of bartending. I cannot wait to represent the UK in the global final in South Africa.”

The competition, now in its seventh year, opened in November and saw World Class judges visit more than 400 of the UK’s best bars to personally invite bartenders to enter the competition. Ten finalists were selected over two bursts to take part in this week’s UK final.

The other nine were Ben Williams of Cloud 23 in Manchester, Jon Hughes from Bramble in Edinburgh, Jamie Jones from Manchester and six others from London: Luca Corradini and Michele Mariotti from The American Bar at The Savoy, Lorenzo Antinori of the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, Tim Laferla from Red Bar at Bam-Bou, Kyle Wilkinson from The Blind Pig and Benji Purslow of Keystone Crescent.

In the Ground to Glass challenge, chef Lee Westcott of The Typing Room restaurant in east London created a bespoke menu using a range of diverse and rare ingredients, foraged from the grounds of Drummuir Castle. The finalists were challenged to create drinks pairings to complement and enhance the unusual elements and flavours in the dishes.

The Deconstruct/Reconstruct challenge called on finalists to deconstruct a unique “World Class Blend” of whisky, created for the competition by master blender Jim Beveridge. They were asked to identify the six whiskies included, out of eight presented to them, breaking each element down by percentage to showcase their skill and knowledge of the category.

Finally, in the Signature Drinks round, they were asked to create two serves, one to represent “who they are” and a second to reflect the bar in which they work.

The challenge was set to encourage competitors to use unique methods, techniques, vessels and ideas which push the limits of conventional cocktail making. Judges were looking for a story and personality as well as theatre and delivery.

The judging panel included Ryan Chetiyawardana of White Lyan and Dandelyan bars in London – who is up for international bartender of the year in the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards – and the UK World Class Bartender of the Year 2014, James Fowler of The Larder House in Bournemouth.

Dan Dove, Diageo Reserve World Class brand ambassador, said: “This year’s UK final has blown us all away. The talent we’ve seen in our search and throughout the challenges set has been unprecedented.

“Ali Reynolds was ultimately crowned as the World Class UK Bartender of the Year as he truly embodies what we are looking for in global finalists. An all-rounder, Ali’s insight, creativity and originality truly earned him the title.”

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve GB, added: “The Diageo Reserve World Class competition seeks out the next generation of bartending talent and those who will pave the way for innovation across the drinks industry.

“Ali Reynolds showcased his craft and insight perfectly, truly earning his place in the global final in South Africa, and we’ll be supporting him all the way.” .

Every year, the best-in-class cocktails created during the World Class global final use spirits from the Diageo Reserve luxury collection including Ketel One vodka, Ciroc vodka, Tanqueray No Ten gin, Don Julio tequila, Zacapa Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, Haig Club whisky, and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Platinum Label and Blue Label blended whiskies.

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