Diageo will present master classes, tastings and other experiences for consumers at a destination created in London for the global final of its World Class bartender competition.
The World Class House will open from Monday (July 28) until August 3 at 33 Fitzroy Square (pictured), a Georgian townhouse in the West End, with sessions and “immersive brand experiences” across its five storeys and roof terrace.
The house is also the hub for the 47 bartenders from around the world who have won places in the global final that takes place in London and Scotland over the coming week.
The bartenders, including UK winner James Fowler of The Larder House in Bournemouth, will compete in a series of challenges, with the theme this year of the art of blending.
The World Class House will be open each day to ticket holders from 5.30pm to 11pm, promising “special guests” alongside cocktails, bar food and entertainment.
As well as a stylish bar and lounge, there will be an underground secret bar fronting as a Latin American travel agency that can be accessed using a vintage telephone. It will showcase Don Julio tequilas and offer a taste of Jalisco, the heart of Mexico’s tequila-producing region.
Another room will be the Tanqueray No Ten Martini Cocktail Bar, with an Art Deco-inspired design, that will offer 10 new Martini-style cocktails.
The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Screening Room will show the brand’s new short film starring Jude Law, called The Gentleman’s Wager. The World Class House will also present the new Scotch whisky, Haig Club, made in partnership with footballer David Beckham.
Visitors can experience soundscapes and lighting effects that bring Ketel One vodka to life in a new way through the Ketel One Sonic Tastings, created with sensory experts.
For Zacapa rum, guests have been promised a “fully immersive journey” to experience the brand’s story through all five senses, followed by a tasting created by a renowned guest chef.
Diageo’s luxury retail arm, Alexander & James, will show consumers how to be a home mixologist and teach them about food and drink pairings with La Fromagerie and Allens of Mayfair.
As well as cocktail master classes from some of the world’s leading bartenders, the World Class House will also host debates featuring Michelin-starred chefs and tastings of other spirits including Bulleit whiskey and Mortlach whiskies.
The public can buy tickets for £35 each at www.definitivedrinkingguide.com/worldclassevents, which includes two free drinks, light bites, entertainment and access to the tastings, seminars and brand experiences.
The 48 finalists arrived in Scotland today, pictured below at Gleneagles Hotel, ahead of the first day of the competition on Monday when they will begin by having their knowledge of blends put to the test before a more sensory challenge to stimulate the judges.
They will then travel down to London on the Orient-Express on Tuesday and, on their arrival at St Pancras Station, they will be tasked with creating a classic Martini before the judges choose who can go through to the next stage.
It will be followed by a reception featuring cocktails by previous World Class winners David Rios, Tim Phillips, Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristolelis Papadopoulos.
On Wednesday morning, the remaining finalists will compete in the Five Star Challenge – tested behind the bar at one of five different leading hotel bars in London, including The Savoy and the Langham.
Next they combine writing and mixology with literary-inspired cocktails for the Written Word Challenge.
On Thursday morning, the bartenders will be given a challenge based in foodie haven Borough Market before speed serves in Cocktails Against The Clock on Thursday afternoon.
The overall winner of the World Class Global Final 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on Friday (August 1).