Marco Pierre White last night crowned Ryan Chetiyawardana of Bramble in Edinburgh the UK’s best bartender in the final of World Class 2009 – the Oscar’s of the bartending world. Held at the exclusive Kent House in London’s Knightsbridge, Ryan dazzled the judges by showcasing his exceptional mixology skills as he triumphed over competition from fourteen of the country’s top bartenders.
In a day-long trial, Ryan and his fellow finalists were tested to the limits in a competition which saw them take part in rounds covering bartending knowledge, mixology and an innovation challenge where they had to prove their creativity against the clock. After 15 bartenders were whittled down to the final two, Ryan went head-to-head with Andreas Tsanos from Zuma in London to battle it out for the grand prize where the two bartenders had to create their final bespoke cocktail and present it to the panel of judges. After a highly competitive and tense round, Ryan was declared the winner with his impressive and delicious Three Storm Flip cocktail (recipe below).
Alongside Marco Pierre White, the infamous Michelin-starred chef, the competition was judged by some of the country’s foremost experts in taste, style and bartending, namely Andy Pearson, TV Mixologist; Bill Prince, Deputy Editor of GQ; Ian Cameron, Managing Editor of Theme (one of the bar industry’s leading magazines) and Barrie Wilson, Reserve’s Head of Brand Ambassadors.
Marco says “I’ve been totally blown away by the skill of the bartenders in this final. To make a great drink takes a lot of hard work, a lot of understanding; it’s not just about putting alcohol into a shaker. What I wanted to see was someone who could engage me, give me something I’d never had before and that was exactly what Ryan did. He was phenomenal – not only with his drinks but also with his knowledge and personality behind the bar and fully deserved the title.”
Ryan will now go on to compete in the prestigious World Class Global Final, taking place later this month, which will see him representing the UK against the finest bartenders from around the world including Australia, China, Singapore, Brazil and Greece. The global winner will go on to have their definitive book of cocktails published courtesy of Diageo and be the face of a global campaign to raise the profile of the industry, themselves and their bar.
“It’s unbelievable” says Ryan, “this was far and away the most challenging and nerve-wracking competition that I’ve ever been in and I’m absolutely thrilled to have won. I was up against the best bartenders in the country – lots of whom I know and admire personally – and performing in front of judges of this calibre has been the highlight of my career so far. I’m hugely excited about the global final and I’m planning to show that cocktail-making in the UK can rival, if not better, anywhere else in the world – it’s an amazing opportunity”
Reserve Brands launched its ‘World Class’ bartender programme to recognise the incredible skill sets of bartenders across Britain. The UK final of World Class was the culmination of a year long series of regional category finals – rum, tequila, gin and vodka – from which fifteen winners were chosen to compete in the UK final.
To find out more about Ryan Chetiyawardana, the UK final, the World Class competition and details on how to enter next year’s competition log onto www.weareworldclass.com
Ryan’s winning recipe:
Three Storm Flip
50ml Pampero Aniversario
25ml Velvet Falernum Liqueur
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
5ml Lagavulin 16
1 whole egg
A pinch of salt and pepper
Method – dry shake all ingredients. Then shake with cubed ice and double strain.
Notes to Editors:
World Class, GB
- The World Class competition is hosted and organised by Diageo Reserve Brands. Diageo Reserve Brands is the luxury division of Diageo and its portfolio of spirits includes including brands such as Tanqueray No. Ten, Johnnie Walker Blue Label blended Scotch whisky, Ketel One and Cîroc vodka.
- There are four regions in the World Class competition – Scotland and Newcastle, the North (from Newcastle down to London), the South (from Brighton across to the South West, e.g. Bristol and Cardiff) and London
- Bartenders across Great Britain applied to participate in World Class by registering on www.weareworldclass.com
- Each bar that entered the competition received bar training at the bar in which they work from a Diageo Reserve Brands ambassador on developing drinks for each product category, namely rum, gin, vodka and tequila. Each bar entered cocktail recipes online and these were then made up and tasted by the Diageo World Class team who selected the winning drink and bartender. These winners were then short listed for the category finals (5 cocktails per category were selected for the regional finals).
- An independent judging panel selected the best cocktail per category in each region in a series of category finals taking place throughout 2008/ 2009.
- The dates for the category finals were:
- Rum - September 2008
- Gin - January 2008
- Vodka - April 2009
- Tequila - June 2009
- The winners of each regional category won a place on a trip to some of the finest distilleries in the world to learn more about the spirit which they had used to make their exceptional drink. The winners of the rum category were taken to Venezuela to visit the distilleries of Pampero and Ron Zacapa, the gin category winners travelled to New York, tequila category winners head off to Mexico to the home of Don Julio and the vodka finalists to the Cognac region in France, where the origins of Cîroc lie.
- These 15 contestants (four from across Great Britain in each category) will take their place at the UK Grand Final.
- Copies of the World Class Terms & Conditions can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Diageo Brands used as part of World Class training include:
- Rum - Pampero & Ron Zacapa™
- Gin - Tanqueray & Tanqueray No. TEN
- Vodka - Cîroc, Ketel One®, Smirnoff Black®
- Tequila - Don Julio®, Jose Cuervo Tradicional®
The BLUE LABEL, CÎROC, JOHNNIE WALKER, PAMPERO, SMIRNOFF BLACK, KETEL ONE TANQUERAY and TANQUERAY NO. TEN words and associated logos are trade marks. © Diageo 2008.
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. Visit www.drinkaware.co.uk and Diageo’s own global resource www.DRINKiQ.com for information and guidance on responsible drinking. In Great Britain, Diageo is a member of The Portman Group and supports The Drinkaware Trust.
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