Cocktail Competitions in Uzbekistan? Yea that's right!

When someone mentions cocktails you don't normally think about Uzbekistan, right? In fact I doubt most of you can point out the country on the world map & thats okay. So imagine our excitement & shirt surprise when Diageo Central Asia called us up to invite us to Tashkent in order to support & judge their Diageo Bartender Academy Challenge local finals? We strapped into our seatbelts, held on to our hats & were in for one wild ride

Little bit of background: The central Asian region is home to what a lot of people to refer to as the 'Stans' & the 3 countries taking part in the competition were - Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan. There region is home to over 70 million people in total & currently developing rapidly as the countries in the region are becoming more accessible & opening up to Western influence. In this case cocktails are in town & becoming big business in the region. The Diageo Bartender Academy Challenge is a competition in its 2nd year in the region to help young bartenders learn, train & practice their craft. We were lucky enough to be invited this year to both judge the competition, cover the event & explore the local bartending community.