Bartenders revealed for GB final of World Class competition

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Bartenders from Edinburgh, Birmingham and London have been selected for the GB final of renowned global bartending competition, World Class.

After creating and presenting stand-out serves in the semi-finals, the five winners are Stefanie Anderson and Murray Drysdale from Edinburgh, Matt Arnold from Birmingham and Alexa Farrow and Mark McClintock from London.

They join three other bartenders who were selected after a bottled cocktail challenge held in September as part of London Cocktail Week: Stevie Kane and Kuba Korzynski from London and James Rawcliffe from Edinburgh.

The finalists will compete to become GB World Class Bartender of the year 2021 and go on to represent Great Britain in the World Class global final in Madrid, which will be run virtually via the World Class Facebook page.

The latest five finalists were selected out of 100 bartenders who reached the semi-finals. They created original cocktails using The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old whisky. 

Alexa Farrow from Silver Lining in London created In Memoriam, combining the whisky with camomile, jasmine and eucalyptus cordial, and Belsazar Riesling Vermouth.

From The Devil’s Advocate in Edinburgh, Stefanie Anderson’s cocktail was Between Two Sunbeams, mixing the whisky with tamarind, lychee and eucalyptus, and soda.

Mark McClintock from Every Cloud in London created the Ecossaise, balancing the whisky with a floral pistachio orgeat and lemon juice.

Murray Drysdale from Hawksmoor in Edinburgh made the Trinity Highball, mixing The Singleton of Dufftown 12 Year Old with a rhubarb and custard cream soda cordial plus soda.  

Matt Arnold from The Edgbaston in Birmingham devised the Anamnesis, combining the whisky with charred barley-infused elderflower liqueur and a water blend.

James Rawcliffe, from Tigerlily in Edinburgh, created a cocktail called Eastern Adventure, inspired by a classic Tom Collins, made with Tanqueray No Ten gin, kaffir, pineapple and lemongrass cordial, Belsazar Riesling vermouth and soda.

Stevie Kane from Baccarat Bar in London devised the Jasmana Highball using Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky, banana and jasmine cordial, and soda.

Kuba Korzynski from Black Rock in London created the Esprimita Martini, made with coffee and coconut-infused Ketel One vodka, crème de cacao blanc liqueur and coconut water.

The finalists will compete in two challenges showcasing their cocktails, skills, personality and craft using Tanqueray No Ten gin, Johnnie Walker whisky and Talisker whisky. The final will be broadcast on April 23 2021 on World Class GB’s Facebook page.

The competition, which dates back to 2009, is normally a big event run live in front of judges but it has had to move online due to Covid restrictions. The final has been designed by World Class partner agency Sweet&Chilli to ensure the magic of the competition is brought to life, showcasing the creativity and skill of the competitors.

This year’s competition has been headed up by Jo Last, World Class and malt whisky ambassador, and Pippa Guy, World Class and Tanqueray ambassador.

Jo said: “Taking World Class virtual this year has been a new experience, but we’re overjoyed with its success so far. It was important for us to stay connected with our community of bartenders and to innovate, by adding new challenges to match the increased standards of competitors. We’re really impressed by all the entries this year and how well the competitors have adapted to the new virtual platform.”

Pippa added: “We have really enjoyed being able to spend time with each of our competitors albeit virtual, and pleased to have been able to continue showcasing the amazing talent that the GB hospitality and drinks sector have to offer.”

As part of this year’s prize package, the GB winner will get a 12-month contract with the world’s first dedicated bartender talent agency, Global Bartending, founded by former Diageo World Class manager Dan Dove, who is one of this year’s judges. The agency will work alongside the winner to create a bespoke support programme based on their career interests and help them prepare for the global competition.

The prize package – worth £15,000 – also includes a place on a WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits course. This advanced-level qualification has been developed for professionals wishing to acquire a detailed understanding of the spirits of the world and develop the tasting skills required to accurately describe and evaluate a spirit.

Watch the final on 23 April live on Facebook.

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