Second set of bartenders wins places in World Class GB final

world class finalists

Diageo Reserve has announced six bartenders who have won places in the GB final of its World Class Bartender of the Year competition.

They were selected by judges out of a 50-strong list of semi-finalists who took part in a day of challenges yesterday. Because of a tie, six bartenders went through instead of the usual five.

Pictured above, they are:

  • Gordon Purnell from Panda & Sons, Edinburgh
  • James Bowker from The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge, Birmingham
  • Lorenzo Antinori from Dandelyan at The Mondrian Hotel, London
  • Dominic Whisson from The American Bar at The Savoy, London
  • Jerome Allaguillemette from Sexy Fish, London
  • Aidan Bowie from Dandelyan at The Mondrian Hotel, London.

They will compete in the GB final in June alongside the five bartenders who were chosen by judges after the first phase of the competition in December. All based in London, they were:

  • Liam Broom from Callooh Callay in Shoreditch
  • Sean Fennelly from Milk & Honey in Soho
  • Scott Gavin from Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London hotel
  • Tim Laferla from City Social in the City of London
  • Kyle Wilkinson from The Blind Pig in Soho.

The GB winner will go on to compete against bartenders from around the world at the global final in Miami.

The semi-final took place at Diageo’s Customer Collaboration Centre in west London followed by the announcement of the final six at London bar Oriole last night. Click here for a list of the 50 semi-finalists.

This second wave, titled “Fruits and Plants”, invited bartenders to create a drink inspired by someone who has made a difference to the environment in some way, however small, such as a musician, athlete, artist, poet or a loved one.

Their drink needed to deliver fresh, vibrant and light flavours with a strong seasonal sense of spring or summer. When creating their cocktails, bartenders were told not to use barware or any professional equipment, instead using basic tools that could be found in the home.

For the second wave, they needed to use white spirits from Diageo Reserve’s World Class selection, such as Cîroc Vodka, Tanqueray No Ten Gin, Ketel One Vodka or Don Julio tequila.

The semi-final was hosted by Diageo Reserve brand ambassadors including Bulleit ambassador Andrea Montague, Ketel One Vodka ambassador David Beatty, Diageo whisky ambassador Colin Dunn and Dan Dove, head of World Class GB, alongside industry experts including Ali Reynolds, last year’s Diageo Reserve GB World Class Bartender of the Year.

Dan said: “The calibre of contestants that compete in World Class never fails to surprise me and this year there was no exception. The competitors pulled out all the stops. We were genuinely blown away with all entries: well thought out, great balance of flavours and presentation was on point.

“Our job becomes harder every year. It starts with identifying the challenge that fits with current trends but that more importantly helps competitors to showcase their skill, creativity and expertise. And when you’re faced with choosing between the best this country has to offer, it can get really tough but exciting nonetheless.”

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