As Diageo Reserve’s World Class competition approaches its first stage of judging, we hear from last year’s GB Bartender of the Year, Jamie Jones, now director of drinks at consultancy Scotch+Limon
In what ways has winning World Class GB Bartender of the Year affected your work and career?
It’s an incredibly prestigious title, and one I couldn’t be prouder of achieving. When I travel with Scotch+Limon doing consultancies, the title carries a great deal of respect on an international level and also when pitching to new clients.
What did you gain from taking part in the World Class competition?
The whole experience is certainly something gained. From flying to Mexico for the first time, to meeting some incredible new friends as well as competing at the very top of the world of bartending and placing in the top 10.
Aside from competing in the global final in Mexico, what have you been doing with World Class since then?
I have spent a lot of time with the UK team presenting the training for this year’s entry to World Class, a lot of which is based on two of the challenges I was given in the finals in Mexico, which has been fun. Also I have had the opportunity to do the same in Poland and even Novosibirsk, Siberia which was a breathtaking experience – literally. It was minus 25 Celsius! But stunning.
What advice would you give to bartenders taking part in 2018?
Make a well thought-out drink that follows the rules, and be yourself when presenting it. If you don’t normally use vintage three-piece shakers, wear arm bands or stir with a three-foot spoon, don’t break them out for World Class. I still use the same beaten-up shakers and kit I’ve had for the last 14 years. Be a great storyteller, and balance a great drink to boot.