South Africa's best regional bartenders have been announced, and will mix-off in the eagerly anticipated Diageo Reserve World Class National Final at the exclusive Marly Hotel in Cape Town from 1-3 July.
The winner of the national final will go on to compete in the World ClassGlobal Final in the UK in July in a quest to become the world's best barman.
"After months of gruelling competition, the best of the best of South Africa's mixologists will contend against one another in what promises to be the most gripping National Final yet. This will be a thrilling test of skill, craft and mettle," says Dominic Bothner, Diageo's National Category Development Manager.
To take part in the World Class national final, Jeff Lopes of The Michelangelo Hotel was recently crowned Johannesburg's best barman in the regional round after showing skill and creativity in his multi-sensory drinking experiences. Simphiwe Ngcobo, also of the Michelangelo Hotel, impressed judges with exciting signature cocktails featuring fresh flavours.
Brent Perremore of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium won the Cape Town regional rounds based on his attention to detail while runner-up Assaf Yechiel, also from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, won a place in the national final for his playful presentations and creative combinations.
An unparalleled understanding of flavour focus in the regional rounds by winner Steven Saunders of The Oyster Box won him the title of Durban's Best Bartender while runner-up, Haroon Haffajee of Harry's Cocktail Bar, will participate in this, his second National Final.
Joining these six talented mixologists will be Wild Card entrant Marson Strydom of Buena Vista Social Café in Cape Town, who obtained the highest overall leaderboard score after the regional winner's had been selected.
"The seven competing bartenders represent the highest standard of mixology expertise in South Africa. Closely matched in skill and talent, competition is set to be extremely close as these contenders vie for the crown as South Africa's best mixologist," adds Dominic Bothner.
The winner of the National Final will go on to compete against the world's best bartenders at the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final to be held in Scotland & London in July/August.
The most coveted accolade in the mixology world, since its launch in 2009, Diageo Reserve World Class has enjoyed unprecedented success to become the world's leading, most prestigious luxury drinks training programme and not only elevates the craft of bartending but has become a global leader for setting cocktail trends, with winners instantly being propelled into the global limelight.