Updated: Mar 29
World Class is a behemoth in the competition landscape with seemingly every they try to outdo not all their competitors but rather themselves. This year for their 10th anniversary we at Cocktails For You were invited by Diageo to join them during this 4 day extravaganza of fierce competition, seminars, workshops & good old fashioned fun. World Class has always been the bartending competition to test bartenders from every possible angle with challenges that threw them for a curve ball every year.
For this years World Class we were teamed us up with a partner brand & our was none other than Tanqueray Gin. Luckily at Cocktails For You we can drink gin for days so were in our element! This year we met their new Master Distiller & he recalled his tale of taking on the huge task of stepping into the shoes of Tom Nicol. It was very interesting to hear that he had been lured into Gin distilling from the Whisky industry & after 3 months of work he really fell in love with his Tiny Ten still, curiously, the master distiller does try other gins as to not let himself be swayed by others work.
During the 4-day marathon of leading up to the competition there were a few definitive highlights that really stood out to us. At Cocktails For You we hadn’t travelled to Singapore yet so Diageo brought Singapore to us. Atlas bar, recently crowned 8th best bar in the world, has a speciality gin collection stretching into the thousands & naturally they were banging out Tanqueray Ten Martini’s. We’re partial to good gin Martini but we’ve got to say this was probably one of the best we’ve ever tried in our life!
Then there was the Ketel One Bloody Mary’s made from freshly pressed juices, herbs picked straight from the herb pot & perfectly fresh spices. It was truly interesting to find this classic cocktail mixed on a different base than the usual tomato juice! The final workshop highlight came from the Master Distiller of Ron Zacapa - Lorena Vasquez - a woman who we thought probably had more charisma than all the bartenders in the room combined.
One of the more interesting events was the “Drinks Trends” panel that featured bartender favourite - Jeffrey Morgenthaler - we found his take of the annual obsession with trends in the alcohol history fascinating. To paraphrase him “Go back to the basics & learn to love what you do the rest is bullshit” aka “Trends are rubbish” we believe its something worth thinking about.
The final of World Class 2018 was a thing of beauty held in E-Werk, a former steel plant in the centre of Berlin with the final challenge a roulette which picked a brand for the bartenders to use, then they had 3 minutes to introduce their unique concoction for the crowd & essentially “sell” their drink. In this challenge we were really impressed with the Turkish champion, his pure & invigorating character put a smile on peoples faces across the room & even though he was clearly nervous you couldn’t help but be on his side.
In the end the new champion of World Class in 2018 was Orlando Marzo from Lumé in Australia. Throughout the course of the entire affair he knocked back the competition with style & precision so we’ve featured one of his drinks below. As we sipped on some excellent cocktails watching the proceedings in our Ciroc blue sunglasses alongside our friends from Beautiful Booze we can’t help but think how lucky enough to be there.
So we raise our glass to World Class & to Orlando!