47 of the world's greatest mixologists came together at Gleneagles, Scotland, today to mark the start of the sixth annual Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final 2014. The bartenders from around the globe gathered at the iconic hotel as they prepared for five days of mixology challenges which will determine who will be crowned the 2014 winner.
After conquering a year-long journey of qualifiers, they are well-prepared to take on the other finalists staged around Great Britain, overseen by the cocktail luminaries such as Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Daniel Estremadoyro, Steve Olson, Gaz Regan, Julie Reiner and Hidetsugu Ueno.
Matteo Fantacchiotti, Global Vice President Commercial, Digeo Reserve, said: "With its mix of history and heritage with contemporary glamour and sophistication we believe that Gleneagles is the perfect place to begin the final of the 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year. As the finalists travel from Scotland, the home of iconic whiskies, to London, arguably the cocktail capital of the world, we're set for five truly memorable days of competition and unforgettable drinks. We wish every one of the finalists the very best of luck."
Paying homage to Scotland's World Class whisky heritage, the bartenders will begin by having their knowledge of blends put to the test, before moving on to a more sensory challenge to stimulate the judges.
The Finalists will then travel down to London on The Orient Express and on their arrival at St Pancras Station, they will be tasked with creating a classic Martini. After the challenge the ultimate World Class bar will open for service and those lucky enough to get a seat will be able to enjoy the signature serves of previous World Class Winners David Rios, Tim Phillips, Manabu Ohtake, Erik Lorincz and Aristolelis Papadopoulos in an evening that will celebrate the best of cocktail culture and the superior craft of bartending.
On Wednesday morning the remaining bartenders will compete in the Five Star Challenge, being tested behind one of five different leading hotel bars in London, including the Savoy and the Langham. Next they combine writing and mixology with literary inspired cocktails for the Written Word Challenge. As the week nears its finale, the competition heats up as the mixologists are given a challenge based in foodie haven Borough Market before speed serves in Cocktails Against The Clock. The overall winner of the World Class Global Final 2014 will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 1st August 2014.
Opening to coincide with the World Class Global Finals, the World Class House will be a celebration of contemporary cocktail culture set over five floors of a beautiful townhouse on Fitzroy Square, London. Drink connoisseurs will be able to experience one-off pop-up bars and mixology masterclasses run by world-renowned bartenders, unique cocktails and food tasting sessions, along with a host of secret events.
Due to Brent Perremore not being able to make it to the UK, Jeff Lopes of The Michelangelo Hotel will be representing SA at the competition. We at MUDL are excited to follow his progression as he takes on some of the world's best. Jeff is an excellent bartender and we wish him the best of luck.
Find Jeff on Twitter: @Jefflsom