Daniel Warren from Last Chance, Nottingham, has been crowned Diageo Reserve’s World Class Bartender of the Year 2018, claiming the title at a final held at Gleneagles hotel in Auchterarder, Scotland last week.
The first challenge took place in a penthouse apartment at the newly opened Edinburgh Grand hotel. Designed to test the bartenders’ hospitality skills and their ability to create a welcoming experience, competitors were required to create the ‘Perfect Welcome Cocktail’ and experience using a base of Ketel One Vodka, Tanqueray No 10 or Don Julio in any style.
On day two, the top 10 were invited to join Diageo brand ambassador Ali Reynolds at the Shooting Lodge on the Gleneagles estate, to test their skill in creating a perfectly balanced cocktail which highlights the smoky notes of Johnnie Walker Black Label.
During the final challenge at the 19th hole at Gleneagles, competitors were asked to imagine themselves bar manager and were tasked with creating the new Club House signature drink, inspired by the rich legacy of the famous golfing institution.
Finalists were given five minutes to prepare their station before their ‘shift’ started and 10 minutes to present to the judges, during which time they were judged on how well they entertained and hosted guests as well as the judges.
The finalists were required to create two full serves for the judges at the bar and 15 sample sized versions for the guests, whilst simultaneously taking orders from customers from a bespoke World Class classics menu which included: Tanqueray No 10 and tonic; Zacapa Daiquiri; Don Julio Margarita; Ketel One Dutch Mule; and Johnnie Walker High Ball.
Stephen Martin, Diageo World Class GB manager, commented: “World Class is all about fantastic hospitality, exceptional knowledge, skill and creativity and Daniel has it all. He really inspired us, brought his own style to the competition and engaged everyone involved, not just the judges. We’re proud of Daniel and can’t wait to see what he will bring to the global final in Berlin.’’
Warren, added: “I never imagined I’d be crowned the winner of this year’s 2018 World Class competition; it’s a dream come true and I’m so incredibly happy. It has been an absolute whirlwind and it all feels very surreal. It’s such an honour to have been able to work with so many talented bartenders, judges and brand ambassadors. This year’s competition has been tough; the challenges really tested my technical abilities as a bartender and my hospitality skills and it’s not over yet! I can’t wait to see what the global final in Berlin brings, I’m counting down the days until I can do it all over again and represent my country!”