Zoe Fryday catches up with Diageo Reserve GB World Class Bartender of the Year 2018 Daniel Warren to discuss life since the competition and hot drinks and cocktail trends for the year ahead.
Coming second place in the World Class global final – what an achievement. How does it feel?
“Coming in second place at the World Class global finals in Berlin was amazing! It feels pretty surreal to be honest; it’s a competition that I’ve looked up to for a very long time, so getting to experience that for myself was great.”
What was your favourite part of the overall competition experience?
“I think that for me, my favourite part of the competition was getting to meet people from all over the world, listening to their stories and what drives and influences them… and obviously getting to showcase my style and drinks on a global stage!”
In your eyes, what are the defining drinks and cocktail trends of 2018?
“That’s a lot to sum up in a one line question, but I think that the main focus for cocktail trends in 2018 were centred on sustainability, unusual or under-utilised ingredients, and simple classics making a resurgence such as the humble Scotch and Soda.”
What are your highlights of 2018?
“My personal highlights of 2018 obviously have to include the World Class program. It’s given me so much and inspired me to push further and work harder than ever before.”
Moving into the new year, what drinks categories can we expect to take off?
“I think that moving into the new year, you can expect to see a continuation of the trends of 2018, with seasonal and responsibly sourced ingredients being looked at more closely. I expect to see a stronger focus on quality drinks that are lower in ABV to see a rise in popularity too.”
What cocktails do you think will be popular?
“The great thing about the drinks industry is that everyone is open to new flavours and ingredients meaning the sector is constantly evolving with exciting new serves. This encourages bartenders to create cocktails for different occasions which can be enjoyed throughout the year.”
Do you have any advice to bartenders/bar operators going into 2019? How can they capitalise on these consumer trends?
“My advice to bartenders is to keep doing what you’re doing, and do it to the best of your ability. Simple advice, but it’s the best way to ensure that our industry is headed in the right direction.”
Where will 2019 take you?
“2019 will be an exciting year for me. I’ll be staying put in Nottingham, with a venue opening for spring next year, but I’ll be travelling around the UK doing what I love, which is making drinks and having fun doing it.”