Five UK bartenders have been announced as semi-finalists in the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year competition.
This takes them to the next stage of the competition, which will be held at Drummuir Castle in Scotland, in June. There they will compete for the title of UK World Class Bartender of the Year, giving them the chance to represent the country at the global final in South Africa in September.
The five are: Luca Corradini (American Bar at the Savoy, London); Tim Laferla (Red Bar at Bam-Bou, London); Kyle Wilkinson (Blind Pig, London); Jon Hughes (Bramble Bar, Edinburgh); and Jamie Jones (No Fixed Abode, Manchester).
Each had to create an original cocktail, incorporating a Diageo brand, to be considered for a place.
Five more semi-finalists will be announced in April. The UK final will test the individuals on their mixology and hosting skills, sensory ability, and accuracy.
The winner of the global final will become a World Class judge and mentor, feature on the World Class TV show, have the chance to create their own cocktail collection book, and win a £10,000 marketing fund to create their own World Class ritual serve.
Daniel Dove, Diageo brand ambassador, said: "The competition aims to elevate the craft of the bartender and inspire the world to care about what, where and how they drink. Our new semi-finalists have the skill, creativity and ambition to do just that. The standard has been higher than ever and we can't wait to see our finalists compete for a place in the global final."
Diageo owns a host of spirit, beer and wine brands, including Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Baileys, and Guinness. It also seeks to improve the drinking experience, including through training for bartenders via the World Class system and its Bar Academy in Asia-Pacific.