It was festival of color, flair and delicious cocktails as the World’s best bartenders converged in Miami Florida to indulge in fine cocktails using some of the world’s best brands and also to choose the Winner for World Class 2016.
World class is a platform that has supported, trained and inspired 250,000 bartenders across the globe over the past eight years, while partnering them with the world’s finest spirits – the Diageo Reserve Collection. World class is also the authority on the drinks industry that consumers look to for information on the latest drinks trends, cocktail recipes and industry insight. World Class also hosts the ‘World Class Bartender of the Year’ – the world’s most prestigious bartending competition.
Charles with Ciroc Master Distiller Jean Francois Robicquet
Shina Peller at one of the World Class final’s Bartender challenges
This year, 56 Bartenders from all over the world competed to be crowned the World’s best bartender. Nigeria was ably represented by the Head of Reserve Nigeria, Joe Nazzal, Businessman and Owner of Club Play Abuja, Charles Opaleke, Chairman of Aquila Group, Shina Peller, Owner of Caribbean Abuja, Abubakar Atodo, Onoja Adole, owner of Delphino Entertainment and Reserve Nigeria Brand Ambassador, Stephen Enumah.
According to Joe Nazzal, “World Class presents a chance to introduce leaders of the “Nightlife” industry to the opportunities that exist in igniting the cocktail culture in Nigeria with the objective of establishing Nigeria as the cocktail destination within West Africa and indeed the World”. The Nigerian contingent had the opportunity of sampling different cocktails from all over the World using brands from Diageo’s Reserve portfolio and also watched the world’s top bartenders battle it out through different challenges that tested different skill from the bartender’s armory: technique, personality, spirits knowledge and how well they perform under pressure. Eventually, Jennifer Le Nechet, a French bartender from the Café Moderne in Paris wowed the judges by creating a spectacular range of vibrant drinks at her Steampunk themed pop-up bar and was named the World’ s No 1 Bartender. She’s also the first female Bartender to win the competition.
Shina Peller with Abubakar Atodo
Bartender training programs are already underway across Nigeria’s top bars preparing for the next World Class finals which will take place in Mexico. Nigeria will be participating for the First time!.
Created in 2004, Diageo’s Reserve division focuses on the global luxury opportunity, bringing together brands built on strong heritage, craftsmanship and authenticity. This luxury portfolio consists of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Cîroc, Don Julio , Tanqueray No. TEN, Ketel One vodka, Zacapa Rum and a fine collection of Single Malts.
For more information on WORLD CLASS and the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year competition. Please follow World Class Nigeria @worldclassnigeria on Instagram and Facebook.
Note that these brands are for Adults 18 years and above. Please drink responsibly.
Joe Nazzal and Charles Opaleke with Diageo Global Bar Academy Manager, Mark Barret
Photo credit: George Okoro