World Class global final gets under way in Miami

World Class Global Final 2016 - Bartender Group Shot

Bartenders from all over the world, including the UK, have come together in Miami for the global finale of Diageo Reserve’s World Class Bartender of the Year Competition.

After 12 months of national and regional heats involving nearly 10,000 entrants across the globe, 56 bartenders are taking part in four days of activities to find the world champion.

See below for the full list of finalists who include Aidan Bowie of Dandelyan at the Mondrian London hotel, representing Great Britain, and Andrew Dickey of The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, representing Ireland.

The first round got under way today, with a range of challenges:

  • The Shape of Cocktails to Come: Bartenders have 15 minutes to create three cocktails that show the different ways the future trends of cocktails.
  • Before and After: They must prepare a menu of three aperitifs delivering the menu in any way to the judges and World Class guests in the room.
  • The Blending Room: Bartenders must consider both the art and science of scotch whisky, identifying the whiskies that are contained within the World Class signature blend and match them to the ratio.
  • The Pool Party: Bartenders must prepare one cocktail for each “mystery guest” and one punch serve that will go out to the judges and the audience. When the challenge time begins, the wheel of fortune will spin a power couple will walk through the door.

Only 12 bartenders will be chosen by the judges to go through to round two. They will have a list of 48 classic American cocktails represented by a deck of cards, grouped into spirit categories – clubs are gin, diamonds are rum, hearts are scotch, spades are vodka and tequila.

The bartenders must make at least one classic drink and one twisted variant per category for a total of eight drinks. Twenty seconds before the round starts bartenders are given two cards featuring a Bulleit cocktail for which they can score bonus points.

Bartenders can also play an ace, which means they are going for three drinks for that category and score more points. Bartenders can play a maximum of four ace cards – meaning they can make four more drinks. Bartenders are given the names of the cocktails but they choose the ingredients and exact recipes for their classics and twists.

Just six finalists will go on to the final challenge – the Miami Shakedown. This will see the bartenders working as a team to create a micro-bar in 24 hours. Bartenders must create a set of special serves:

  • Judges Championship Serve is made exclusively for the judging panel and can be one of the drinks used in a previous challenge.
  • Guest Signature Serve is the bartenders’ signature serve, tasted and scored by the judges and afterwards served to the guests attending the challenge.
  • Reserve Punch is a batched serve, to be served to the judges and scored and then served to all attending guests.

Spike Marchant, global ambassador for World Class, said: “In order to impress the World Class judges, a bartender must exhibit originality, precision, showmanship and the ability to connect with consumers.

“They will be tested to their limits throughout World Class – working under pressure to create not only beautiful drinks, but also memorable experiences. Each year I am astounded and inspired by the level of talent, skill and innovation the participants bring to the competition.”

You can watch the competition live at the extended Livestream hosted on and on the World Class Facebook page

Johanna Dalley, global director for World Class, added: “Since its inception, World Class has been passionate about giving the best bartenders in the world the global spotlight they richly deserve – these are incredibly talented professionals whose skill is on a par with the world’s best chefs but who also deal directly with the public on a nightly basis.

“They have the flexibility to create great drinks to the exact specification of each and every one of their guests; they are part sommelier, part maître d’, part host, part alchemist, part entertainer and part confidant.”

The team of judges across the week include:

  • Alex Kratena, seminar presenter, writer, mentor, co-founder of drinks network P(our) and former head bartender of the award-winning Artesian bar at London’s Langham hotel
  • Laura Cullen, mentor and coach in the drinks industry and inducted into the Dame Hall of Fame by Tales of the Cocktail.
  • Ewan Morgan, one of the most knowledgeable whisky resources in the industry
  • Gaggan Anand, two-time winner of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and former GQ Man of the Year and owner of the progressive Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Pedro Miguel Schiaffano, chef at Malabar, the 20th restaurant on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
  • Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five in Ginza, Tokyo, who is the epitome of modern hostmanship, making drinks with the renowned “hard shake” technique and carving his famous ice diamonds.
  • Roberto Berdecia, resident bartender at La Factoria in Puerto Rico, 45 in the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars and a former winner of Puerto Rico’s World Class Bartender regional final.
  • Steve Olson, a returning judge and one of America’s foremost experts, lecturers and writers.

Full list of finalists

Charles Ainsbury, This Must Be the Place, Sydney, Australia
Falco Torini, Miranda Bar, Vienna, Austria
Dries Botty, The Dirty Rabbit, Antwerp, Belgium
Andrej Malic, Celebrity Cruises, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Antonio Marcos Felix Dos Santos, Bar Ponto, São Paulo, Brazil
Samet Ali, Sputnik, Sofia, Bulgaria
Shane Mulvany, Alo, Toronto, Canada
Nicolás Farías Muñoz, Hidden Bar, Santiago, Chile
Luis Humberto Cano, W Bogotá hotel, Colombia
Oscar Alonso Bermúdez Segura, Pocket, Escazu, Costa Rica
Adrián Michalčík, L´Fleur, Prague, Czech Republic
Jonas Brandenborg Andersen, Mash Penthouse, Copenhagen, Denmark
George Valdez, Hotel JW Marriott Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Regeri Zoo, Meat Market Cocktail Bar, Tartu, Estonia
Jennifer Le Nechet, Café Moderne, Paris, France
Noureddine Elmoussaoui, The Parlour, Frankfurt, Germany
Laurence Eaton, The Bistro, Grand Cayman
Alexios P Simonidis, Theory Bar & More, Chalandri, Athens, Greece
James Barker, 208 Duecento Otto, Hong Kong
Andri Davíð Pétursson, Matur og Drykkur, Reykjavik, Iceland
Jitender Singh, Story at Westin Gurgaon, India
Eko Prabowo, The Tavern Gastropub, Indonesia
Andrew Dickey, The Merchant Hotel, Belfast, Northern Ireland (for Ireland)
Elad Baruch, Jasper Johns Bar, Tel Aviv, Israel
Mattia Pastori, Non Solo Cocktails and Damascegliere, Milan, Italy
Ryu Fujii, Bar K, Osaka, Japan
Joan Samia, Artcaffe Coffee and Bakery, Kenya
Kevin Haddad, Central Station Boutique Bar, Beirut, Lebanon
Osmund Bernard, Ikki, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Mica Rousseau, Fifty Mils at Four Seasons Mexico City, Mexico
Kevin Kroon, Door 74, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Kneale Brown, Matterhorn, Wellington, New Zealand
Antonio Naranjo Nevares, Himkok, Oslo, Norway
David Vergara, Bristol Hotel, Panama City, Panama
Joel Chirinos Durand, Bottega Dasso, Lima, Peru
Michael Keith B Tubiera, Ramblaph, Makati, Philippines
Paweł Rodaszyński, El Koktel, Warsaw, Poland
Joao Rodrigues, Columbus Bar, Faro, Portugal
Jorge Buch, La Coctelera, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Steeve Spiga, Le Riad, Reunion Island
Gache Costin, Interbelic Cocktail Bar, Bucharest, Romania
Vitaly Ekimenko, Funny Cabany, Moscow, Russia
Boo Jing Heng, Jigger & Pony, Singapore
Mária Debnárová, The Rum Club, Lemon Tree and Sky Bar, Bratislava, Slovakia
Dom Walsh, Molecular Bars, Johannesburg, South Africa
Do Hyung Kim, WooBar, W Seoul Walkerhill, South Korea
Adriana Chia, Solange Cocktails & Luxury Spirits, Barcelona, Spain
Johan Evers, Hard Waters & Ling Long, Stockhom, Sweden
Sophie Larrouture, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva, Switzerland
Nick Wu, East End Bar Taipei, Taiwan
Pailin Sajjanit, Vesper, Bangkok, Thailand
Laura Duca, Boca Restaurant, Dubai, UAE
Aidan Bowie, Dandelyan at Mondrian London, UK
Andrew S Meltzer, 15 Romolo, San Francisco, USA
Marcelo Pellejero, Shake & Show, Uruguay
Luu Tran The Vinh, Glow Skybar, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

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