After a long week of fiercely competitive cocktail making, Lucha Libre fighting and keeping things green, Canada's Kaitlyn Stewart has been crowned Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 in Mexico City.
The week saw 55 bartenders whittled down to 10, then to four and then finally to one. Stewart and her competitors were met with challenges which tested every skills that makes a bartender 'truly great', including classics and culinary techniques. She also took on the Mex ECO challenge, showing how bartenders can look for new ways to make sustainable cocktails.
Stewart will now embark on a year of adventure, having the chance to travel the world as a Diageo Reserve brand ambassador, making drinks in all four corners of the globe. She is now the ninth member of the World Class Hall of Fame.
'I’m so incredibly amazed and shocked to have been named the world’s best bartender,' gushed Stewart on her win. 'It’s been a gruelling week, taking on the toughest challenges against some of most skilled bartenders I’ve ever met. Participating in the finals was amazing enough but to finish the week as winner… I’m so delighted!
'Cocktails are on the up now more than ever and to be at the forefront of that, pushing forward the idea of using better ingredients and better recipes to create even better cocktails is something I’m really passionate about and I’ve loved every moment of this experience.'
'This is a special week in the bartender calendar and it didn’t disappoint – we have truly been blown away. Cocktail culture is booming and these World Class finalists are the people who are leading the way, helping the industry grow from strength to strength,' added Johanna Dalley, global World Class director.
'Wow. Wow. Wow. What an incredible week! As judges we’ve seen everything, from six-foot high flames to ingredients brought together in ways I’ve never seen before,' concluded Diageo Reserve’s global cocktailian and World Class judge, Lauren Mote.
Earlier in the competition, World Class revealed four trends expected to change cocktail culture in the next year. These trends include people experimenting with cocktails at home, sustainability, signature serves and tasking inspiration from gastronomy culture.