This past November, "World's Best Bartender" premiered on the Travel Channel giving front-row access to USBG World Class, the most prestigious international cocktail program. This one-hour special showcased top bartenders from 39 countries, including U.S. winner Ricky Gomez, who assembled in Rio de Janeiro and put their cocktail skills to the test during multiple rounds of challenges.
With the excitement looming, the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) & World Class U.S. announce the second year of the program in search of the nation's top bartending talent.
"We are raising the bar for our 2013 U.S. bartender search," said Mark Schulte, Diageo's Senior Vice President of Customer Marketing. "This year we've created a more robust educational platform, developed an iPhone app, and the USBG has opened the program to all U.S residents to further encourage the bartending community to be a part of something that's truly unparalleled."
In three steps, bartenders and mixologists can register online at www.DiageoWorldClassUSA.com for a chance to be awarded the title of USBG & World Class U.S. Bartender of the Year. First, hopeful participants must complete three World Class training modules, authored by leading spirits journalist Camper English, and score 80 percent or higher on each test. The modules provide important education pertaining to relevant topics such as Retro Chic (modernizing classic cocktails for the new millennium), Tropical Journey (in-depth look at Tiki culture) and Hollywood, Bollywood, Hong Kong (the art of cocktail presentation and service). Second, they must submit an original cocktail recipe and photo featuring one of the DIAGEO Reserve Brands including KETEL ONE® Vodka, CIROC® Vodka, TANQUERAY® NO. TEN Gin, ZACAPA® Rum, BULLEIT® Bourbon, JOHNNIE WALKER® Blended Scotch Whisky and DON JULIO® Tequila. Lastly, registrants must upload a video showcasing their passion and affinity for the industry.
In effort to make the entry process easier, World Class U.S. has created an iPhone app allowing registrants to complete the training modules and upload a photo and video directly from their smart phones. The app will also provide updates on local World Class U.S. events across the country.
World Class U.S. Ambassador Ricky Gomez and Tanqueray Global Ambassador Angus Winchester will travel to San Antonio Cocktail Conference (January 17-20, 2013) and Arizona Cocktail Week (February 16-22, 2013) to host training seminars to spread awareness about the program. Additionally, both Ricky and Angus will conduct intimate educational events with local USBG chapters across the country encouraging bartenders to participate in the program in addition to promoting social responsibility. Their schedule will be available on the World Class U.S. website and iPhone app.
The program officially closes on April 30, 2013, and 20 finalists will be announced during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (May 17-21, 2013). From June 3-4, 2013, the finalists will face-off in New York City at the USBG & World Class U.S. Finale. Judging the challenges include some of the industry's best and brightest – leading bar professional Tony Abou-Ganim, top mixologist and author Jim Meehan, cocktail and culinary expert Steve Olson, USBG National President David Nepove and leading cocktail maven Julie Reiner. In the end, one bartender will have the great honor of representing the United States at the Global Finals this summer. A donation will also be made to the Museum of the American Cocktail as a World Class U.S. bartender not only makes great cocktails, they also support their cocktail community.
"World Class U.S. is unlike any other cocktail program I've ever experienced," said Ricky Gomez, World Class U.S. Ambassador. "Competing in the global final allowed me not only to compete and represent American mixology, but also collaborate with 38 international bartenders to champion the art of the cocktail creatively and responsibly."