Thinking about entering this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class competition? No fear, the elite in the bartending sphere, aka the Diageo Reserve brand ambassador community, are here to share their top tips for the entry process
Spreading the World Class love with the UK-wide studios tour early this year, bartenders across the nation would have already got a taste of the challenges ahead. If you didn’t attend, firstly, why not!? But secondly, don’t panic, if you scroll down you'll find some links which you can simply click to access all material shared at the training sessions.
The competition represents a fantastic platform for bartenders to showcase their passion for the drinks industry and for people of all levels to push themselves and develop their expertise. This year, bartenders can submit to one or both modules – ‘Acid House’, designed to celebrate the whole citrus fruit that is at the heart of creation for Diageo’s premium gin brand, Tanqueray No Ten, and ‘Heritage Highballs’ – a nod to the classic Johnnie Walker Highball serve, this module challenges applicants to present a twist on their own Highball serve using Johnnie Walker Black Label as the base.
On 11 March, the top 100 will be announced and invited to share a Ketel One 'One Square Mile' serve online. The One Square Mile initiative was created to challenge bartenders to use ingredients sourced within a one-mile radius of their local bar with an aim to celebrate local communities. Judges will travel the country to taste-test all the entries.
Each module is designed specifically to test bartenders on a number of levels, including creativity, storytelling and skill. The competition aims to challenge all passionate bartenders to join the World Class journey and has transformed the lives of thousands of bartenders all over the world – you could be next!
The competition... has transformed the lives of thousands of bartenders all over the world – you could be next!
Supporting entrants on the road to the Global Final, this year being held in Sydney, Australia, are World Class GB brand ambassadors made up of drinks aficionados and previous competition winners. And what better teachers? The mentors sharing their knowledge and expertise include the creative minds behind the challenges. They include Jason Clark, Talisker & World Class brand ambassador; Jack Sotti, senior Tanqueray ambassador; and previous winners such as Ali Reynolds, Diageo Reserve whisky ambassador, and Cameron Attfield, who represented GB in the 2019 Global World Class competition, placing fourth best in the world. Couldn’t get a much better line-up if you tried.
Here they have put their heads together to give you top ten tips on entering the competition:
- Want more of a chance of winning? Well, you have two, so use them! We recommend entering recipes for both Acid House and Heritage Highballs modules so you double your chance of making it to the Top 100.
- Read the challenge details thoroughly. Submit your drink ensuring you have ticked all of the elements of the marking schedule and brief to the best of your ability. Don’t lose out due to skim reading!
- Take time to capture a great photo of your cocktail. Ensure it is well lit and well composed. Don’t forget – post it online to share your work with the wider community! There’s no need for a fancy camera, camera phones will take fantastic shots when used thoughtfully and creatively.
- Online submissions should be clean and clear. Think of it like a CV; your aim is to sell your entry to the judges. It should be professional, concise and easy to read.
- Try to find a way to connect your drink inspiration to the brand in some way. Although, don’t overdo it, we want it to be authentic.
- Two pairs of eyes are always better than one, so ask someone to proof your submission before you hit send to see if there are any glaring errors or improvements to be made.
- Make a drink that sounds delicious on paper. Write it out like you would on a menu and pass it around a selection of people to get their opinions. Does just reading it get them excited and wanting to try it or does the addition of weird ingredients put them off?
- Stop and think whether could your drink be executed in a busy bar or does it have too many elements going on that would make it impossible to serve?
- Is there an element of surprise or ‘wow’ factor? You don’t need to go too over the top here, it’s just a matter of integrating something that captures the imagination of the judges and tells the story.
- It’s always good to be prepared, so we’d recommend to start working on your One Square Mile serve once submitting your initial two serves, so that if you are one of the lucky Top 100, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running and upload your serve.
Entries for Diageo Reserve GB World Class Bartender of the Year 2020 are now open and close on 9 March. To enter, visit theworldclassclub.com. For the links to materials from the training sessions, please click here.