A masterbrand plays a huge role in dictating cocktail culture around the world
Diageo has a reputation for making massive efforts to showcase and reward the world’s top mixologists. Besides their Bar Academy, they have also been running World Class for six years, a competition that has grown to be the World Cup or Olympics equivalent for mixologists and dedicated bartenders. At its core, World Class is an education program for some 11,000 bartenders from 50 countries whom are brought together once a year to compare flair, creativity, skills, and charisma in competitive, public setting.
One bartender is awarded the title of DIAGEO Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year. This year’s World Class cocktail judges included top-industry names such as Dale DeGroff, Peter Dorelli, Salvatore Calabrese, and Julie Reiner. With the finals having taken place this weekend, Chicago’s Charles Joly from The Aviary was crowned the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of this year. According to Edelman PR,
Charles mesmerized the judges from the very first cocktail but it was his unique and show-stopping signature serve that will help cement his name in cocktail history. His signature cocktail Above the Clouds, crafted for the final Punch and Glass challenge, blew the judges away. Throughout the week Charles consistently proved his winning credentials to the esteemed panel of judges that included legends and luminaries of the cocktail scene.
A deep-dive sample of the contestants is featured on the World Class Tumblr page, where the observers can find out more about the challenges facing contestants, all of which feature DIAGEO projects in fine drinking contexts. The blog also functions as a broad resource for consumers to learn about the world’s top bars, recommended drink recipes, and participate in the World Class Final week with masterclasses and cocktail-themed events, ultimately recruiting more consumers into a culture of fine drinking.
This year we bring WORLD CLASS to life in a pop-up house for cocktail enthusiasts in central London. The world’s greatest mixologists and best brands will be showcasing their wares, from Mexican speakeasy basement bars by Don Julio to Art Deco inspired bars from Tanqueray No. TEN. We’ll also be running different sessions and seminars for guests, one of which is called BC (Before Cocktails). Part edible exhibition, part bar, part museum, this will feature the things that inspired modern cocktails, whether it’s Shakespeare’s favourite drink, a modern recreation of ‘water for melancholie.’
Cementing Bartending as a Form of Craftsmanship
By capturing the oftentimes performative processes of how various mixologists work, World Class accentuates the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into a good cocktail. Upon winning the award, Mr.Joly reflects this sentiment in a statement where he says:
This journey didn’t start today at the ceremony, this week at the finals, or even last year when I entered the heats – it started many years ago when I first started working in a local bar. The flavors, the smells, the sounds, the techniques, the history, the theater – I realized I did not want to create just another drink. I make drinks with my heart and it makes me happy to see customers happy. The possibilities open to a bartender are limitless, not just in terms of your career but your creations – the only limit is your imagination.