Mumbai was on another high with the much-awaited competition of “Diageo Reserve World Class”. The competition is truly is defining and changing the entire scene of fine drinking around the globe. Diageo Reserve has been leading the path when it comes to Super Deluxe innovations with brands that are not only today’s consumer’s favourites, but also have an instant connect and likeability factor. Diageo Reserve’s latest innovations include John Walker & Sons Odyssey, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Cîroc flavors and Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons to name a few. This time around, we were a part of the 9th Edition of Diageo Reserve’s World Class Competition, which is a one of a kind platform for India’s very own desi boys – “All Bartenders With An Art For The Craft“.
World Class Competition has bartenders from our country’s leading hotels, restaurants and bars participating in it and battling it out for the Final Spot to be India’s Best Bartender of the Year at Diageo Reserve World Class 2017.
The day started with 12 mixologists starting off with the Blind Tasting Round, from which 6 were shortlisted and they proceeded to The Speed Round where they had only to finish making the cocktails within a time limit. The 3 lucky ones got to battle it out in the Final and last round – The Mystery Box.
Each and every bartender that participated in this competition had to go through an intense training and perfect the art without showcasing it on their face, not to mention be entertaining at all times. This isn’t as easy as it looks at all. These 12 contestants had been shortlisted after going through many regional level competitions.
The panel of judges was in awe of the charisma, hard work and the level of professionalism each one of them brought to the table. After an interesting Mystery Box Round, the judges (Donald Colville, Diageo Global Scotch Ambassador – Malts, Nicholas Ord, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador and Nikhil Agarwal, Sommelier & CEO, All Things Nice) announced Rohan Rege from Paasha – JW Marriott, Pune as the Winner of Diageo Reserve World Class India Finals 2017 and he will now be competing for the Global Finals in Mexico.
I got to interact with him for a little while once he cleared the 2nd round and I also personally witnessed his bartending from the front row. In two words, he is a Master & a Magician. Truly believing in what he does, he was a winner from the very beginning and I know for a fact that he will make India very proud at the Global Level. The runners up were Jitender Singh Rana (Last Year’s Winner) from Perch, Delhi and Kevin Das from Hakkasan, Mumbai who gave a very tough fight.
Announcing the winner, Nitesh Chhapru, Head of Marketing – Premium Core & Luxury Portfolio, Diageo India said, “Diageo Reserve World Class is a celebration of flair and creativity in the craft of bartending. The competition is a unique platform, which aims to nurture the potential talent of local bartenders and enable them with the right knowledge, craft and skill to perform at a global stage. Diageo Reserve World Class aims at transforming fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture, which encourages people to drink better and responsibly.
Three Cheers to Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS for coming up with this one of a kind initiative that not only appreciates the mixology art but it also puts talented bartenders right on the world map!!! It doesn’t get any bigger than this!!! So looking forward to the Mexico Competition now.