Diageo World Class: What's It All About?

Tim Philips of Hemmesphere, Sydney has been crowned the winner of Diageo World Class 2012. Congratulations Tim! Check out the other category winners here.

If you're not sure what this legendary competition is all about (where have you been?!) then carry on reading...

50 countries, 15,000 bartenders, 100,000 cocktails created. 1 winner.

It Is ON!

This year the final was held in Brazil, famous for Giselle, Christ the Redeemer... and now Diageo World Class! AKA the global search for the WORLD’S BEST BARTENDER, where BarChick reported live  (ish – Caiparinihas aside) from the scene. Hell yes. From the 8th – 12th July this vibrant city welcomed over 50 of the world’s best bartenders from around the globe who won the chance to represent their countries after months of training and preparation, after battling it out with over 10,000 contenders. In its fourth year, this competition is rapidly gathering speed and prestige.

Previously held in London, Athens and New Delhi they thought this year they would spread the love to Brazil. GENIUS.
Two years ago the acclaimed winner was Eric Lorincz of London's iconic American Bar at The Savoy. He was propelled into the limelight and when he's not making Blue Blazers at the Savoy you'll find him travelling the world, judging comps, encouraging new bartenders, and spreading the good word about Diageo's Reserve Brands (that's the good sh*t to you and me), such as Ketel One, Tanqueray No. 10 and Zacapa Rum.
This year bartending heavyweight judges included Salvatore Calabrese, Dale de Groff and Peter Dorelli, so only the best were called upon. Representing the UK this year was London Cocktail Club’s Andy Mill who sadly didn't win but still did amazingly well to get there.

Here's what a few World Class personalities have to say about the competition -

THE PREVIOUS WINNER

Last year's winner, Manabu Ohtake from Tower's Bar Bellovisto, loves meeting interesting people, misses his family, and would happily be stuck on a dessert island as long as he has a bottle of tequila with him.

Manabu has been kept very busy since his win. At the end of the day it's the reaction that he gets from his customers that makes it all worthwhile. He's been lucky enough to travel the world extensively in his new role, but always finds time to stop by the Connaught Bar, Artesian Bar and American Bar when in London. What's next for Manabu? He loves the new trend of taking the Japanese tea culture and incorporating it into his cocktail recipes.  At this year's event Manabu was judging the next generation of bartending legends.

THE WORLD CLASS GLOBAL AMBASSADOR

Spike Marchant refers to himself as a 'world class lubricant', is soon to be a dad, and thinks that Tom Cruise would play him in a movie.

As an East London boy he dreamed of becoming an actor, but now he travels the globe attending competitions, shaking hands and creating a buzz for the events. He loves the Gentlemen's Drinks and the Flying Down to Rio challenges because that's where the competitors pull out all the stops, bringing out showcase serves and unique ingredients that complement Diageo's products. London is home, and you'll often find him at his neighbourhood local, Happiness Forgets, which he likes for its funky and unpretentious vibe. Callooh Callay is another favourite for its sense of humour and great drinks, and Nightjar for their immaculate concoctions. His latest favourite drink is a 'Last Word', equal measures Tanqueray 10, Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liquor and fresh lime. 'It sounds like it should be a car crash but it's amazing, a cracking drink!' Next up for Spike? World Class is becoming a TV show, working with the guys behind Master Chef and Shine TV. 'It's going to be watching the success and triumphs of bartenders, and helping their work be recognized'.

THE JUDGE

Ago Perrone teaches yoga in his spare time, loves meeting people, and wanted to be a photographer when he was a kid.

When it comes to picking just one favourite bar, Ago, The Connaught's director of mixology, has trouble. It depends on where he is, and who's working! He always stops in at Montgomery Place when he's out West, is a big fan of the ambience and drinks at the Zetter Townhouse, and loves Artesian Bar. When in Mexico he drinks Batanga, a tequila cocktail with coke, lime juice and a salt rim, and actually once found himself stuck in the desert with nothing but a bottle of tequila. Seriously! Thankfully he survived to tell the tale and now heads up the exquisite bars at the Connaught. Next up for Ago - opening a third bar in the hotel.