Winning bartender announced for 2021 Diageo World Class GB competition

Mark Mc Clintock World Class Shampagne Johnnie

London-based Mark Mc Clintock has been announced as the GB winner of Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year.

Mark, who originally comes from Northern Ireland and was head bartender at Every Cloud bar in London until the pandemic, was one of eight bartenders who competed in the GB final. He will represent Great Britain in the World Class global final in July alongside bartenders from around the world.

With the competition going online for 2021, the bartenders were challenged to demonstrate creativity, craft and personality through developing and presenting their original cocktails.

The first challenge, “Alive with Freshness”, tested creativity and craft based solely on flavour and balance. Competitors were tasked to create two perfectly balanced cocktails of contrasting styles, using one “magical modifier” that celebrated the whole fruit freshness of Tanqueray No Ten gin.

Mark created two drinks using “lacto strawberry cordial”, made with za’atar spices, lemon verbena and rosemary: the strikingly red Strawberry Hill (pictured above) combined the gin and cordial with Tio Pepe fino sherry while the Ruby Fizz combined the gin and cordial with egg white.

The second challenge, The Scotch Box, called on the finalists to create a dream whisky bar considering all elements from the drinks and menu style, to atmosphere and hosting skills. They had to create a memorable guest experience for the judges, welcoming them into their ideal bar, sharing with them a carbonated welcome drink using Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky and a second cocktail to draw the evening to a close, using Talisker 10 whisky, taking inspiration from the natural environment of where their dream bar would be located.

Mark’s welcome drink (at his dream whisky bar, The Three Bridges, in Derry) was the Shampagne Johnnie (pictured top) which combined Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky with a watermelon, olive and mint cordial plus carbonated filtered water, served with a dehydrated olive leaf and a small bowl of black olives on the side.

Mark Mc Clintock World Class Dulsee de Leche

His second scotch drink, using Talisker 10 Year Old whisky as its base, was the Dulsée de Leche (pictured above) which featured fig leaf, apple, dulse seaweed and acids with a coconut milk punch.

Jo Last, World Class ambassador for Diageo, said: “All of our competitors showcased their creativity, adaptability and passion throughout this year’s competition. We were blown away by the standard they brought in this new virtual format.

“Mark McClintock showcased impeccable skills and hospitality throughout both challenges, presenting delicious drinks every step of the way and we are thrilled to have him crowned as our winner.”

Mark (pictured) will go on to represent GB in the first fully virtual World Class global final which will take place from 4 to 8 July this year.

He has also won a 12-month contract with talent agency Global Bartending, a WSET Level 3 Spirits course for professionals, a personalised Cocktail Kingdom kit and a professional photo shoot for his signature serve and a profile.

Mark said: “I was not expecting this at all, in any way shape or form! I am genuinely shocked and so honoured to go on and represent GB on the global stage. I am elated to have been chosen. Thank you to all of the BAs [brand ambassadors], my fiancée India Blanch and those who have supported me along the way. Their advice and support has been invaluable. I can’t wait to go on and do everyone justice in the global finals.”

This year’s judging panel included previous World Class GB winner Cameron Attfield, Andy Ives of BarLifeUK, Dan Dove of Global Bartending, Sandrae Lawrence of The Cocktail Lovers and Diageo GB brand ambassadors Pippa Guy and Jason Clark.

Pippa said: “There have been so many extra challenges on all the bartenders this year, and the level of work that our top eight put into the challenges is simply breath-taking.

“Mark has demonstrated a consistently high quality of drinks, knowledge and personality ever since he stepped into the World Class programme. I can’t wait to see him continue to develop as he steps up to representing Great Britain on the global stage.”

Launched in 2009, the World Class competition and programme has involved over 15,000 bartenders around the world and educated them in the craft of mixing drinks using the finest spirits in the Diageo Reserve collection. 

A recording of the competition will be broadcast on the World Class GB page on Facebook on April 23.

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