World's best bartenders compete in ‘Olympic Games' of cocktail making
A contest dubbed the Olympic Games of cocktail making has brought the planet’s best bartenders to Scotland to compete for the world title.
Fifty-four national champions from six continents are showcasing their talents in Glasgow at the World Class event.
A round of competition was staged at the Talisker distillery on the Isle of Skye at the start of the week before the finalists headed to Glasgow on Wednesday for another two days of challenges at the SWG3 event space.
The winner of the championships, hosted by drinks giant Diageo, will be crowned at the venue on Thursday night.
Among the competitors is 30-year-old Londoner Cameron Attfield, who runs the Disrepute bar in Soho.
He asked judges to board an imaginary flight to the countries where his ingredients are sourced, even handing out boarding passes, as he took to the stage on Wednesday.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “You never comprehend how big it is and then you come and see the production and see everyone here.
“These 54 bartenders are the best in the world competing together. It’s not a bad job.”
The participants reached the World Class finals by triumphing in their national heats.
Competition judge and former winner of the title Erik Lorincz said it was important for the finalists to overcome their nerves and not be afraid to make mistakes.
“For me, this is the Olympic Games of bartending, where the bartender is being judged in every aspect – their skills, their creativity and their knowledge,” he said.
“And the bartender who can bring those all together takes home the trophy.”
Diageo’s Simon Earley, the global head of World Class, said the decision to bring the event to Scotland offered a chance to celebrate the best of Scotch whisky.
“We are the world’s best bartending competition, we use the world’s best spirits and the world’s best drinks so, for the industry, this is a big deal,” he said.
“These are 54 bartenders from around the world, they have been working all their lives towards this.
“For them it’s the pinnacle of their career to win World Class.”
The competition got under way on Sunday, with an opening round at the Ketel One Distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands.
The action then moved to Skye, where finalists had to rely on their imagination after being presented with a “mystery box” of ingredients and bar tools at the Talisker distillery.
The bartenders took a break from competition on Tuesday for a welcome event at Boturich Castle on the banks of Loch Lomond.