Mixing a drink right is a skill and like a special chef, a special bartender has a unique style of concocting a perfect drink. Diageo Reserve World Class puts forth a platform where bartenders from all over our country compete for the title of India Bartender of the Year. The winner gets to represent India and compete with the world’s best bartenders at Diageo Reserve World Class Global Finals to be held in Miami in September 2016.
This competition had 20 men from different hotels and bars ,including a couple of NammaBengaluru boys itself, compete to bring out some unique cocktails. I had the opportunity to witness the last phase of this competition where top 6 finalists competed with each other. The contestants were judged on the basis of three rounds – The Pantry Round, The Speed Round, and The Mystery Box Round. By the time I reached the event, the speed round was going on and it was amazing to see the contestants quickly making some quirky drinks. Each bartender went through a rigorous training procedure to survive till the end and had their eyes firmly set on the global finals in Miami!
All these Top 20 bartenders were judged by an expert panel which consisted of Feroze Merchant, Head of Luxury, USL Diageo, Nicholas Ord, USL Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador, Jamie Walker, USL Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador, Serhan Kusakisizoglu, Director of Corporate Projects, Shangri La, Nicole Faria, ex-Miss Earth 2010 and Manu Chandra, Chef Partner Toast & Tonic (Bangalore), Monkey Bar (Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai), The Fatty Bao (Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai), and Executive Chef Olive Beach, Bangalore
The top 3 finalists were Vikram, Jitendar and Dilbar Singh who were all excited and enthusiastic about being in the finale. When I had a chat with them, they were pretty excited and were actually rooting for each other to win. It was heart-warming to see that they were all united as a community and wanted bar-tending to grow and get recognition worldwide. Dilbar has about 5 years of experience in bartending while Vikram has about 2 years experience and both of them come from Delhi. Jitendar, on the other hand, has almost 2 years experience and currently works in Gurgaon. Before declaring the winner, all the contestants were called on stage. Everyone received gifts from the judges Nicole and Manu Chandra and it was made sure that no one left the venue empty-handed.
After a lot of anxiety and suspense, Jitender was declared the winner. Dilbar became the runner-up and Vikram got the first place. We look forward to Jitender representing India on the international stage with his mindblowing bartending skills. The evening did not end there but continued to an after party where all of us got to taste some amazing cocktails. I had a Singleton based cocktail which made my night!
There already have been 6 bartending competitions and this was the 7th edition. I might be a little late to the party but now that I know of this event, I am not missing it next year. This is a great meet up for liquor connoisseurs as well since a gamut of luxury spirits from the Diageo Reserve portfolio namely Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18, Talisker , Tanqueray 10, CÎROC, KetelOne, Don Julio and the Singleton of Glen Ord 12YO is offered.
Dress : Soucika
Bracelet : Swarovski
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Drink Responsibly | Don’t Drink and Drive | and remember, the legal age of drinking in India is 21!
Be Beautiful and Stay Stylish 🙂