They are Iain McPherson from Panda & Sons in Edinburgh, Massimo Zitti from Cane and Grain which is about to open in Manchester, Luca Corradini from The American Bar at The Savoy in London and Richard Tring (pictured) from Red Light in Bristol.
They will be joined at the next stage of the competition by previously announced regional heat winners Robin Honhold from Lucky Liquor Co in Edinburgh, Matthew Soares from Cloud 23 in Manchester, Nathan O’Neill from Milk & Honey in London and James Fowler from The Larder House in Bournemouth. Click here for more on them.
The eight bartenders will compete in a knockout round later this month in London, where the final four will be chosen to compete mid-air on board a British Airways A380 heading for Hong Kong. This will lead to the choice of the UK World Class Bartender of the Year 2014.
Imaginative cocktail recipes in the last regional heats included the Primavera Punch from Richard which comprised Don Julio Blanco tequila and Grand Marnier mixed with ingredients such as rhubarb tea, homemade spice water and freshly-pressed Spanish lemon juice, colourfully mixed in a punch bowl and served in goblets garnished with orange, rhubarb, mint and cherry.
Andrea Montague, Diageo Reserve brand ambassador and World Class judge, said: “This year we have witnessed some exceptionally imaginative and talented bartending and these UK finalists will be pulling out all the stops to win the chance to compete in the global final.
“That is what this competition is all about – showcasing the world’s best talent who are not afraid to push the boundaries to create truly exceptional drinks.”
The winner of the UK final will go on to represent their country in the global final, which this year is coming home to the UK in July. He will join 49 of the world’s best bartenders in a competition that will take them to Scotland to experience the art of blending and then on board the luxurious “World Class Express” to London where they will enjoy the capital’s cocktail culture.
In the northern heat, Massimo faced regional finalists Tom Higham from Kosmonaut in Manchester, Matt Coates for Jake’s Bar in Leeds, Tim Laferla from Mr Cooper’s Bar & Kitchen in Manchester, and Joe Wild from Jenny’s Bar in Liverpool.
In the London region, Luca was up against finalists Walter Pintus from the Rivoli Bar at The Ritz, Nathan Merriman from Big Easy Covent Garden, Stuart Binks from Made in the Shade, Gianluca Magri from the Connaught Bar and Lorenzo Antinori from the Beaufort Bar at The Savoy.
Along with Iain, the Scottish regional finals also featured Allan McGhie from The Highgrove in Troon, Matthew Wakeford from Missoni Edinburgh, Russell Downie from Tonic in Edinburgh, Rosie Paterson from The Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh and Michael Braun, also from Panda & Sons.
In the south, Richard faced other regional finalists Marco Li Donni of Central Bar in Bath, CJ Lohez from 1812 in Bournemouth, Daniel Warren from Merkaba in Brighton, Josh Windsor from Goldbrick House in Bristol, and Salvatore Damiano from Club Lounge at the Captain’s Club Hotel in Christchurch.