Bannie Kang from Singaporian bar Anti:Dote has been named the world’s best bartender for 2019 at the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Bartender of the Year competition.
Thousands of bartenders from across six continents crafted cocktails before being whittled down through a series of national heats to an elite group of 53 of the world’s best bartenders.
A series of challenges across four days followed in the Netherlands and Scotland, before Bannie was crowned the world’s best at an exclusive event in Glasgow’s famous west end.
Cameron Attfield, representing Great Britain, achieved a spot in the top eight, impressing judges with his technique and creativity in the series of challenges.
Simon Earley, head of Diageo World Class, said: “This year’s competition was one of the most competitive we’ve ever had. The skill and talent of the bartenders battling it out across all the different challenges was awe-inspiring. Bannie Kang is a worthy winner and her technique, temperament, and artisanship really stood out across the four days.”
At the heat at the Ketel One Distillery in Schiedam in the Netherlands, the finalists were tasked with creating cocktails that had a positive environmental impact and a sense of community at their core. Then in Scotland at the Talisker Distillery they were presented with a ‘mystery box’ of ingredients and bar tools and challenged to mix up a Talisker masterpiece.
At the final in Glasgow, the competitors were challenged to create cocktails that respected, enhanced and complemented single malt the Singleton and to devise a cocktail flight of three small drinks that explored the fresh citrus heart of Tanqueray No 10; excel at a Johnnie Walker ‘highball in a can’ challenge; and ace a final speed round where they were judged by industry legends on the quality of their cocktail-making under time pressures.
Kang will spend the next 12 months as a global ambassador for Diageo’s Reserve brands, travelling the world and judging World Class national heats; inspiring 2020’s hopefuls and crowning regional champions; completing guest shifts in the world’s best bars; and playing a role in Diageo’s global partnership with IMG’s Taste Festivals.
Kang said: “This has been an incredible experience. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work – a real whirlwind. I’d like to say well done to all the finalists – there were so many incredible drinks created this week it could have been any of us who won. I’ve learnt a lot and made some friends for life. It was a privilege to spend the last five days with these guys, working with these incredible spirits brands, at the best bartending competition in the world. To have won is the cherry on the cake.”