How the esteemed bartending contest is shaking up the cocktail world
Diageo World Class is more than just the biggest, most prestigious cocktail competition on the planet. It is also a major source of education for bartenders.
“We’re really trying to play our part in driving the industry forward, focusing on educating and giving bartenders the tools they need to achieve their goals, at home and around the globe,” says Michael Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On-premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager.
Although Singapore takes the title, Canada once again shakes up the world’s biggest cocktail competition
Note: This is the third in an Alchemist series following Diageo World Class 2019 from planning the competition to the National Final in Whistler and through to the Global Final in Scotland.
He came so close. Vancouver’s Jeff Savage made it to the final eight at the Diageo World Class Final. And he won the Singleton State of Mind award. But in the end, the diminutive Bannie Kang from Singapore took home the ultimate prize.
From East and West, bartenders move on to the regional finals of the Diageo World Class competition
Since the beginning of January, Canada’s bartenders have been perfecting their recipes, practising their techniques and preparing for their moment in the spotlight at the Diageo World Class Canada cocktail competition.
On March 1, 13 bartenders from Eastern Canada and 13 from the West made it through to the Regional Finals, which will be held in Toronto and Calgary in late March. From there, five winners from East and West will go on to the National Final in June. The winner of that event will compete in the global final of the world’s biggest, most prestigious bartending competition, which will be held in Glasgow at the end of September.
With Christopher Enns’ recent win in Montreal, that’s four times Vancouver bartenders have taken home the prestigious title of Diageo Reserve World Class Canada champion since the competition started in 2013.
Enns, who mans the shakers at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, also recently won the Woodford Reserve Manhattan challenge in New York. “It’s been very busy, that’s for sure,” he says.
Chris Enns prepared this cocktail for the World Class Canada 2018 national finals. “This drink came from the Wanderlust challenge where we came up with a cocktail inspired by both home and an away location,” he recalls. A twist on the Sazerac cocktail, the Home Team is inspired by the feeling of “home” he found at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well the home-team support among the World Class bartenders. Here it is served in a Scottish quaich cup; however, a chilled Old Fashioned or Sazerac-style glass would be fine.
He now heads to Berlin, Germany, to represent Canada at the World Class Global Final Oct. 4 to 8, 2018.
Expectations will be even higher than usual. Not only is this the 10th anniversary of the biggest and most important cocktail competition on the planet, but another Vancouverite, Kaitlyn Stewart of Royal Dinette, won the global title last year, vanquishing 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries to do so.
Cocktail competition season is in full swing, and it’s exciting to see so many B.C. bartenders competing both on the local and world stage.
After Royal Dinette’s Kaitlyn Stewart won Diageo World Class in 2017, all eyes are on the global competition whose winner is considered best bartender in the world. The 2018 round kicked off in January, with regional challenges being held in March and the Canadian finals scheduled for May 7 to 10. Good luck to all who dare enter.
Some of Vancouver’s top bartenders give their thoughts on what’ll be hot next year
Raise your glass to the end of 2017, a year that brought us one disaster after another, from raging wildfires to the near-daily perp walk of sexual predators. Between all that and the inescapability of frosé, it’s a year we’re mostly happy to forget.
And so we look forward to 2018. We checked in with some of the city’s top bartenders to discover what’s shaking for the New Year.