Question: where will all the best bartending talent on the planet be in the next six days? Answer: on board the Azamara Journey Cruise Liner. Yesiree, 44 of the finest cocktail makers and shakers will be gliding across the French Riviera – not on some jolly old holiday we might add (although we’re sure there will be opportunities for them to work their tans) but to take part in the World Class Global Final 2013.

Always looking to raise the bar in the competition stakes, Diageo have gone all-out with this year’s location: a floating luxury playground embarking in Nice then stopping off at glamorous St. Tropez and Ibiza, with the final itself taking place in the dramatic Bullring in Barcelona. The 42 guys and two ladies competing will have to work hard to get through to each stage in the four day event and an esteemed panel of judges made up of, ahem, fanfare please: Dale De Groff, Peter Dorelli, Julie Reiner, Gary Regan, Hidetsugo Ueno, Salvatore Calabrese, Steve Olson, Spike Marchant and Arturo Savage aka The Top Guns will be on hand to put them through their paces

It ain’t going to be easy but it’s sure going to be nail-biting stuff. We’ll be aboard checking out all the action – follow our Twitter feed and Facebook to cheer on your favourite and keep your antennae tuned into www.twitter.com/WorldClassGlobal

Let’s hear it for the 44 finalists:

AUSTRALIA Luke Ashton, Vasco Bar,
AUSTRIA Bert Jachamann, Fabios
BELGIUM Carl Van Droogenbroeck, Cocktails @ Nine
BRAZIL Diego Barcellos, Mr Lam
CANADA Jenner Cormier, The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Cockial Bar and Noble
CAYMAN ISLANDS Simon Crompton, Agua Restaurant and Lounge
CHINA Cross Yu, Muse on the Bund Shanghai
COLUMBIA Jose Maria Garces Cadvid, Awa Helada
COSTA RICA Clark Jiménez Alvarado, 8vo Rooftop
DENMARK Hasse Johansen, St. Paul’s Apothek Bar
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC Edwin Castillo, Wines & Spirits
EL SALVADOR Marta Esthela, Casa Il Bongustaio
FRANCE Jérôme Kaftandjian, Park Hyatt Hotel, Paris Vendome
GERMANY Atalay Aktas, Schwarze Traube
GREAT BRITAIN Gareth Evans, Social Eating House
GREECE Theodoros Pirillos, A for Athens Bar
GTMA AMERICAS Dominic Laverty, Princess Cruises
HONG KONG Ricky Liau, Wyndham the 4th
INDIA Varun Sudhakar S, AER Bar and Lounge
INDONESIA Bayu Wiseso, Ku Du Ta Bali
ITALY Mattia Pastori, Bamboo Bar, Armani Hotel Milano
JAPAN Tsuyoshi Miyazaki, Nara Hotel
KOREA Sungmin Park, Elbon the Table
LEBANON Jad Ballout, Garcia’s Cantina y Cocteleria
MEXICO Moisés Sierra Sáenz, Bar Aurora
MOROCCO Nabil Ben El Khattab, La Bodega
NETHERLANDS Ivar de Lange, Demain
NEW ZEALAND Jason Clark, Shott Beverages
NORWAY Monica Berg, Aqua Vitae|
PANAMA Enrique Ignacio Auvert, Teatro Amador
PHILIPPINES Allanking Roxas, Dillingers 1903
PUERTO RICO Mario Seijo, La Placita de Santurce
RUSSIA Kirill Runkov, Favourite Place 22-13
SINGAPORE Zachary de Git, Tippling Club
SOUTH AFRICA Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
SPAIN David Rios, The Jigger Cocktail
SWEDEN Emil Seth Areng, Rex Bar & Grill
SWITZERLAND Laura Schacht, Clouds Bar
TAIWAN Victor Yang, Marquee Restaurant & Lounge
THAILAND Boyd Rodbanrung, SMITH Restaurant
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Kester Blake, Electric Bar System
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Angus McGregor, Hakkasan Dubai
UNITED STATES Jeff Bell, PDT
VIETNAM Le Thanh Tung, Chill Skybar

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