One of the top bartender competitions in the world has today announced its winner. After a four day battle in Miami, France's Jennifer Le Nechet was crowned world's best bartender at the World Class Bartender of the Year global final.
The first female bartender to claim the title, Le Nechet hails from Parisian bar Café Moderne, winning over judges with her colourful range of drinks at her Steampunk themed pop up bar.
'I'm completely blown away – it's such an honour to take home the title of World’s Best Bartender – especially when competing against such talent from around the world,' said Le Nechet. 'This week has inspired me to continue pushing the boundaries of flavours and to explore how all the senses can be engaged through cocktails. I can't wait for the experience ahead!'
Using brands from Diageo's Reserve portfolio, the bartenders created classic cocktails and their own recipes, with challenges including mixing eight drinks in 10 minutes.
10,000 bartenders entered the global competition, with 56 making it to Miami. The final six bartenders then had 24 hours to create and bring to life a bespoke pop-up bar, with finalists from Belgium, Denmark, Taiwan, Japan, Czech Republic and France.
Le Nechet, the eighth winner of the coveted title, will now begin a year as Diageo Reserve's brand ambassador, judging competitions and making her drinks around the world.
'We judges have been blown away by the standard this year,' said judge Alex Kratena. 'These guys have knocked it out of the park – no matter whether it's mixing a classic cocktail or creating a bespoke drink. The level of innovation has been jaw-dropping.'
'World Class is continuing on a stellar trajectory,' added Johanna Dalley, World Class director. 'Since we launched in 2009 the number of countries participating has tripled from 18 to 56, and the programme has reached and inspired more than 250,000 bartenders around the globe.'
Didn't make it to Miami this year? Planning for 2017 is already under way, with the final being hosted in Mexico City. Dalley added: 'World Class will take cocktail culture to a new level in Mexico City, and there could be no better place for this, since for many years, this city been developing into one of the most vibrant capitals for food, drink and culture.'
Entry for World Class 2017 opens 9 November...