Jamie Jones of the Social Company has been named Diageo Reserve GB's World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 following a two-day finale held at the Mondrian hotel, London.
The 11 final competitors were put through their paces in three key challenges in front of judges including Dan Dove, head of Diageo Reserve World Class; David Beatty, Ketel One vodka brand ambassador; Aidan Bowie, head bartender of Dandelyan in London; Dennis Zoppi; Pritesh Mody of World of Zing; Ago Perrone of the Connaught; Barrie Wilson of Scotch+Limon; and editor of The Cocktail Lovers, Sandrae Lawrence.
The first challenge, ‘made in Mexico' featured a list of unfamiliar ingredients, with which competitors were challenged to create a twist on a Sangrita or Verdita using Don Julio tequila in 45 minutes. A workshop followed, where bartenders were tasked with creating their own essential oils to be used in a martini.
On day two, the finalists entered the second challenge, the ‘signature serve', where they were asked to bridge their home culture with Mexico City. The final challenge, ‘a table of eight', was to create three drinks to be served alongside a three-course dining experience for a table of eight guests.
Jones's winning serves included a Tanqueray No Ten martini made with hemp, lemon and lime oil-washed Ketel One vodka. His signature serve, ‘the rumours brew', comprised Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve whisky, Ancho Reyes Verde Chile liqueur, Banane du Brésil liqueur, lime juice, pineapple juice and Hitachino Japanese rice beer.
Alongside a trip to Mexico City to represent Great Britain in the global final, Jones has won a trip to Don Julio in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico; a trip to Schiedam to the Ketel One vodka distillery; a bespoke whisky trip to Scotland; a £500 voucher for a personalised Cocktail Kingdom kit; Caracalla World Class bespoke bartender hand luggage worth over £1,000; and a professional signature serve and profile photoshoot with a top industry photographer.
Dan Dove, head of Diageo Reserve World Class GB, said: "Jamie truly reflects what it means to be a world-class bartender; he blew the judges away with his exceptional appreciation of flavour, sensory harmony, technique and, of course, ability to create and host quality and memorable experiences."
Jones said: "The last two days have been so intense but incredibly rewarding. I've had the chance to work with an unbelievable bunch of bartenders, ambassadors and even flavour chemists, which has been a huge privilege alone. I can't wait to head to Mexico City for the next stage of the competition and the chance to represent Great Britain."
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