Above: Last year’s Diageo Reserve GB World Class Bartender of the Year 2018, Jamie Jones

Wake up people! It’s time to start flexing your bartending muscles, both mentally and physically, as entry for the Diageo Reserve GB World Class Competition 2018 is officially o-p-e-n.

As you might expect with a competition of this stature, only those who take their profession extremely seriously will make it through to the top spot. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be working in a fancy-pants five-star hotel or award-winning bar to make the grade, not a bit of it. If you’ve got the right disposition, an appreciation of fine spirits and a desire to be the best in the world, you’re more than halfway there.

Yes, that sounds like me, what next?

First and foremost, remember the dates: you have from now until the 30th March to get your submissions in. Which is good as it gives you time to start mulling over your ideas but don’t let it fool you into thinking that you’ve got so much time that you end up leaving everything to the last minute. Who needs the stress?

Point taken. The date is in my diary, now what?

It’s time to get creative, which is what you do all the time, right? For the initial entry you’re invited to upload an original recipe to the World Class Club website. The brief? Create a Closed Loop Cocktail – that’s one that encompasses two key elements in the competition: The Resourceful Bartender, addressing sustainability issues in the bar and working environment, and Heat of the Moment, demonstrating your ability to use culinary techniques to create a cocktail that tastes downright delicious.

Last year’s terrific ten

Can I use anything in my drink?

You must include at least 30ml of any of the spirits in the Diageo Reserve portfolio as your base and as you get to choose from the bumper list below, that’s not exactly a hardship really is it? This is your calling card, your chance to show off your creativity, originality and flair, so go for it.

Take your pick from the following:
Ketel One Vodka (any variant)
Cîroc (any variant)

Tanqueray No. TEN

Don Julio

Zacapa 23
Zacapa XO

Haig Club
Roe & Co
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Johnnie Walker Black Label
Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch

Great, is that it?

Er, not quite. That’s the first stage, next come the actual challenges – all three of them. First is the in-bar judging process where instead of you having to take time out from your bar, the judges very thoughtfully come to you, wherever you are in the country. Here’s where your entry drink gets the taste-test that determines whether you and it are one of the Top 30 best entries in the UK who will then go through to the semi-finals.

Jamie Jones in action at the Global Finals in Mexico

Okay, got it. Then what?

If you make it through to this stage – congratulations! But now you’ll have to leave the comfort of your bar to demonstrate your knowledge, passion and ability to keep calm under pressure while making outstanding drinks at a venue to be disclosed at a later date. At the end of the semi-finals, the Top 30 will be whittled down to a terrific ten – all of whom go through to the Diageo Reserve GB World Class Finals in June 2018.

Exciting stuff! So what’s at stake for the winner?

Apart from the honour of being crowned Diageo Reserve GB World Class Bartender of the Year 2018 you mean? How does a package valued at £15,000 sound? Or representing GB at the Global Finals in Berlin later in the year? And if that little lot doesn’t rock your boat, perhaps the fact that this competition seriously changes your life, will.

Are you ready?

Entries open until 30th March. To enter, visit TheWorldClassClub.com

World Class Facebook page facebook.com/worldclass

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