Diageo World Class announces first three regional finalists

14 September, 2020

Three bartenders have surged through to the British regional final of Diageo’s World Class mixology competition after impressing judges with their portable cocktail creations.

Diageo has been forced to adapt the competition this year due to logistical issues created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It divided the top 100 British bartenders into three different groups. The first group had to create a bottled cocktail based on the Tom Collins, using Tanqueray No. Ten.

The second group had to use Ketel One to create a riff on the Espresso Martini, while the final group used Johnnie Walker Black Label to produce a portable highball adaptation.

James Rawcliffe (pictured) of Tigerlily in Edinburgh was deemed the winner for the Tom Collins adaptation. His cocktail, Eastern Adventure, used Tanqueray No. Ten kaffir, pineapple and lemongrass cordial, Belsazar Riesling and soda.

Kuba Korzynski of Black Rock in London triumphed with an Esprimita Martini, featuring Coffee & coconut Ketel One, crème de cacao blanc, coconut water.

Stevie Kane from Baccarat Bar in London went for Johnnie Walker Black Label, banana and jasmine cordial and soda to create the victorious Jasmana Highball.

There are still 12 spots up for grabs in the British final of the World Class competition. More information on upcoming challenges will be revealed over the coming months.

Rawcliffe, Korzynski and Kane will have their creations produced in a cocktail kit format for consumers to purchase via Cocktail Porter, featured on the London Cocktail Week website.

The partnership will allow consumers to buy the bespoke Cocktail Porter x World Class Cocktail Kits for £39 – with free delivery during LCW – as part of an immersive, at-home, online session, with digital masterclasses hosted throughout October.

Whisky House at Goods Way in London will also host events and masterclasses featuring the Diageo portfolio during LCW. Brand ambassadors from Johnnie Walker, Ketel One Vodka and Tanqueray will share cocktail making tips with guests.

Jack Sotti, previously senior ambassador for Tanqueray, has been promoted to head of advocacy at Diageo GB. Sotti will join Stu Bale of Crucible for live shows during LCW, featuring special panel guests.

Pippa Guy will join the firm as the new Tanqueray brand ambassador for the UK market. She was previously the first female senior bartender at the Savoy’s American Bar in almost a century. Jo Last and Miriam Scofield have also joined the team.

Sotti said: “We are incredibly excited to bring World Class back to Great Britain, with a new and adapted program to champion bartender creativity in the face of adversity.

“We have stripped back and rebuilt the competition to allow bartenders with no bar or budget to compete, and are airing our exciting new four-part series with Crucible to kickstart their inspiration.

“Most notably World Class is about people, and so it gives me the utmost pride to welcome Pippa, Jo and Mimi to our diverse and passionate team.”

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